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Vinho Verde Extends U.S. Upswing

June 25, 2014

Wines from Portugal’s northwestern Vinho Verde region continue to make strides in the U.S. market, having risen 43% to 484,000 cases since 2009, according to the Commissão de Viticultura da Região Vinhos Verdes (CVRVV). Last year, Vinho Verde posted total exports up 5% to 2.16 million cases, with the U.S. category up 6%.

Released three to six months after harvest, Vinho Verde wines are made from a combination of local varietals like Alvarinho, Avesso, Azal, Arinto, Loureiro and Trajadura. The relatively low-alcohol style—the maximum level allowed is 11.5% abv—has found favor with U.S. consumers lately.

“Vinho Verde wines have experienced a revolution in the last two decades,” says Carla Cunha, director of marketing for CVRVV. “They match the demand for lighter wines and lower calories.”

To further boost Vinho Verde’s profile, the CVRVV recently began a new three-year campaign, jointly funded by the Portuguese government and the European Union, aimed at boosting sales in the U.S. Another objective is expanding Vinho Verde’s presence in the on-premise by working with sommeliers to include the wines on restaurant menus.

With exports now reaching more than 70 markets worldwide and making up 37% of the region’s total sales, the CVRVV is looking to keep up the export momentum and achieve a 50-50 domestic/export balance by 2020.

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