For years, we’ve spoken of our adoration of Portugal; but since our move, we’ve been shocked by the number of people who are unaware of its existence. This becomes even more profound when we head back to the States and realize that very few of my wine geek friends are familiar with Portuguese wine beyond Port. Hear this enough and your heart gets heavy. Understandably, you want people to know about Portugal. You want people to have the same joy and elation you have.
We quickly realized that although we couldn’t buy every one of our close friends a ticket to Portugal, we could potentially, bring Portugal to them.
With this in mind, we noticed that there were a few holes in Viniportugal’s wine promotion schedule in the USA and decided to test a theory. We asked a few importers and retailers how many winemakers from Europe come through Minneapolis. The answer was, few and far between. Odd, we thought, a state with a rich and thriving restaurant scene, great wine shops and a pulsating arts culture, should have more influence in the world of wine. Placing the Twin Cities on our “must visit” list, we called Doug Frost and inquired if Kansas City would be an interesting city to bring a handful of Portuguese winemakers. His response was an enthusiastic, “Yes!” Eventually, we cobbled together 5 cities that were easy to get to by car, bursting with a healthy dose of gastronomy and showed a considerable amount of enthusiasm for Portuguese wine.
Then came the hard part, winemakers. This was by far the most challenging aspect of the project; however, we did eventually find 4 wineries who were willing to take a risk, but not without some convincing. Here was the pitch. We’re heading to the center of the USA where your wines doesn’t exist. Our goal will not be to sell your wine, but rather to sell Portugal. Even if we get some distribution flowing, this won’t be a longterm solution.
What will cause an impact is if Americans have the ability to point to Portugal on a map and say, “I not only know where Portugal is, but one day I’d love to go visit.” Much to our surprise, they all agreed.
Crazy? Maybe. But we hope it will be effective. And if it is, we’d love to repeat this project a few times a year with different winemakers, visiting different states.
On this particular trip, we will visit:
- Minneapolis & St.Paul, Minnesota – May 30
- Kansas City, Missouri – May 31
- St.Louis, Missouri – June 1
- Indianapolis, Indiana – June 2
- Chicago, Illinois – June 3 & 4
As of today, our large rental van is filled with wine, our phones are packed with good music to listen to, and our tech gear is powered to record. We’ll be posting videos, pictures and our stories at www.PortugueseWineInvasion.com. So don’t hesitate follow along. You can also find us on Twitter at @ptwineinvasion
This project is the ultimate in collaboration. We’re all taking risks and making sacrifices to ensure this works. We see it as an investment in the future, to help spread the word that Portugal is worthy of our attention, our interest and our curiosity.
We did design a killer logo though by hiring the very talented www.andrecaetano.com. If you like it, leave a comment and you’ll not only get a some funky Gallo stickers (our logo), but will be put into a drawing for your own Portuguese Wine Invasion t-shirt.
Wish us luck, we’ll need it!