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Graham's launches its first premium white port

Symington's Graham's Port has launched its first premium white port, Graham's Blend No.5 White Port.

Graham’s Blend No.5 White Port brings together the port-making knowledge handed down through the Symington family since the 19th century with the more contemporary and informal approach of the 5th generation, who have recently joined the family’s long winemaking tradition.

The release of Blend No.5 follows the popularity of White Port & Tonic as an aperitif. The trend towards healthier lifestyles and people ‘drinking less, but better’ has prompted a surge in lower strength alcoholic drinks. The Port & Tonic has been experiencing success in both the on-trade and at home as a less alcoholic alternative to the Gin & Tonic.

This growth has been helped by the development of Porto and the Douro Valley as a tourist destination, where many holidaymakers are able to sample the Port & Tonic in the city where it was born.

Whereas most white ports are made up of a mixed field blend of various white grape varieties, Graham’s Port’s head winemaker, Charles Symington, selected two premium Portuguese white grape varieties — the Malvasia Fina and the  Moscatel Gallega — to produce this blend.

The grapes are cold fermented in small batches. Blend No.5 is bottled three months after the harvest to preserve  freshness and should be drunk young.

Due to Blend No5’s micro production (less than 6000 bottles), Blend No5 is only currently available to the UK market.

The new look packaging, which represents a clear departure from the more traditional presentation of other ports, is intended to increase the product's appeal in the on-trade and reach new consumers who previously might not have had port in their drinking repertoires. Graham’s has partnered with drinks agency CASK Liquid Marketing, who will be leveraging their extensive expertise to raise the on-trade profile of the wine.

Graham’s design manager, Alexandra Sousa Ribeiro, commissioned the  Portuguese fashion illustrator António Soares, who has previously collaborated with FENDI, Karl Lagerfeld, and Chanel, to draw the illustrations for the bottle.

Alexandra Sousa Ribeiro, design manager, Symington Family Estates says: “Our design concept aimed to transmit the aromatic fresh profile of the wine — white grapes, lime, peaches, honey — whilst connecting it with mint and lemon, the garnish associated with Port and Tonic. António Soares, who is known for his strong use of colour, was invited to use his artistic interpretation to create the organic elements for the bottle illustration.”

Charlotte Symington, marketing manager, Symington Family Estates, says: “Following the huge success of the Graham’s Aged Tawny Ports in clear glass bottles, we felt it was time create a new take on white port, having seen it grow in reputation over the last few years. We wanted Graham’s Blend Nº5 White Port to be immediate and accessible to a younger generation of port drinkers. The presentation is something completely new for the port trade and we’re excited to see how consumers react.”

13 February 2019 - Sam Coyne The Drinks Report, editor