Wine specialist Cláudio Martins

‘Wine Hour at Home’ – Portugal’s new virtual wine tastings in English

Enjoying a nice glass of wine after work with our friends or family doesn’t have to be something we give up during these times of social distancing – we just have to do it differently.

This is exactly why Adriana Fournier from Chefs Agency and wine specialist Cláudio Martins from Martins Wine Advisor have created a series of virtual wine tasting events called ‘Wine Hour at Home’.

These wine tastings are streamed on the platform’s Instagram profile at 5pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and are hosted by Cláudio Martins and sommelier Rodolfo Tristão who welcome a different guest every time – normally a national or international wine producer.

Among the guests that have already been featured are Dirk Niepoort, the project’s “godfather”, Luís Sottomayor from Casa Ferreirinha which makes the famous Barca Velha, Bernardo Cabral from Vicentino, Loïc Pasquet from Liber Pater and Antoine Roland Billecart from Champagne Billecart-Salmon.

The events are held in English and are aimed at everyone, not only those with a wealth of knowledge about wines. The wines that will be tasted are announced beforehand, allowing viewers to buy them and taste them along with the hosts.

Topics revolve around wine but also the producers’ personal lives and their recent experiences during lockdown.

The tone is casual and the goal is to not only promote national and international wines but also help keep people positive during these strange times we are all living.

Speaking to the Resident, organiser Adriana Fournier said she and Cláudio didn’t even take the idea very seriously at first.

“We didn’t have many expectations when we started but the response from wine producers was almost immediate, with many asking to take part in the events,” she told us.

“It has completely surpassed any expectations we might have had. We chose to hold the events in English in order to appeal to a larger audience. So far, we have already had people watching in Australia, the UK, Spain, Brazil and the USA.”

According to Adriana, the goal now is to “reinvent the project every week” by inviting chefs and others who work with wine as guests.

Meanwhile, Cláudio Martins hopes the virtual wine tasting events are reaching people who like wine but might not know much about them, giving them a chance to ask winemakers not only about their wines but also about their lives.

“We want to bring people closer to winemakers and break down the barriers between them,” he told the Resident.

Another goal is to showcase the quality of Portugal’s wines which, according to Cláudio, are still undervalued abroad.

“I am perfectly aware of the potential of Portugal’s wines, although the country hasn’t been able to promote its wines abroad in order to show people just how good our wine is,” he said.

“We aren’t able to achieve even a 1% market share in the UK. People assume that just because Portuguese wine is cheap, it isn’t up to the standards of wines from other countries that are able to market them better such as Spain or Italy.”

Thus hopes are that ‘Wine Hour at Home’ can help put Portugal on the global wine map.

Cláudio is trying to do his part by speaking with winemakers all over Portugal through these virtual tastings and showing foreign viewers that Portugal is much more than a ‘value-for-money’ wine country.
“There are truly fantastic wines made here,” he told us.

Adriana says the plan is to continue developing the project even after the pandemic is over, with plans to expand the live streams onto new platforms other than Instagram.

To tune into the live streams, simply visit the initiative’s Instagram page – https://www.instagram.com/winehourathome/?hl=pt

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com

Adriana Fournier from Chefs Agency. Photo by: @ Ricardo Bernardo
Wine specialist Cláudio Martins
Dirk Niepoort, the project’s “godfather”
Sommelier Rodolfo Tristão