Events & News

Events & News

The Vintage Port Academy Workshop: Taipei 04th December 2023

The last 2023 VPA workshop, conducted by Yusen Lin in an ardent manner, was delivered on 04 December in Taipei to over 30 F&B professionals. 

Sommelier Kevin Lu demonstrated how to open and decant Vintage Port and shared insights on Chinese cuisine x port pairing, while Jorge Ramos from Fladgate Partnership who happened to be in Taipei, presented the top student prize.

Top student Huang Wei-di, sommelier at FirePlay, recalled a friends’ gathering at an outdoor restaurant where a bottle of Graham’s 20 YO Tawny Port was ordered. Ladies were sipping the Port with crème brulée, and gentlemen were enjoying cigars with the Port. Port is not the conclusion of an evening but the extension of the night. Just like Port, good friendship can stand the test of time.

The Vintage Port Academy Workshop: Hong Kong 29th November 2023

Originally scheduled for 9th October but postponed because of Typhoon Koinu, the Hong Kong’s VPA workshop was successfully held on 29 November. 

Jorge Ramos and Jorge Nunes, representatives of The Fladgate Partnership and Symington Family Estates, jointly conducted the workshop attended by 28 professionals from the wine and F&B trade. 

While all students passed the examination, the top student prize was awarded to sommelier Nick Koon who impressed both Jorges as Nick reckoned Vintage Port can be appreciated in sad occasions. 'At funeral, a Vintage Port of the birth year of the deceased can be shared among relatives and friends. While the deep colour and full-bodied of the wine echoes the sad emotion, its sweet taste comforts and reminds everyone the beautiful memories of the deceased.'

The Vintage Port Academy Workshop: Tokyo 20th November 2023

The third edition of Tokyo VPA workshop was presented by Hiroyuki Seino, chief sommelier of Apicius and wine educator to a dedicated group of wine professionals.  Seino-san, also the Best Student of VPA workshop 2019, visited the Douro valley with other educators a few months earlier, shared his enthusiasm and first-hand experience of the Douro valley. 

Congratulations to all participants who passed the examination at the end of the workshop. The top student award went to Norihiko Kudo, owner chef & sommelier of Wine Living Signature, a wine bar & restaurant in Aoyama. He said while Vintage Port is best savoured with cheese or dessert in a nicely decorated room with classic music, 10 Years Tawny Port, slightly chilled of course, is a perfect outdoor drink with friends in spring or summer.

The Vintage Port Academy Workshop: Seoul 10th November 2023

The VPA workshop in Seoul, delivered by Moonsong Bang from Winevision, was attended by 28 passionate F&B industry professionals. 

Following Moonsong's presentation, head sommelier of Michelin-starred restaurant Solbam, Dong Yeon Ko, led on with servicing, tasting and food pairing. He specially pointed out a few Korean dishes that go well with port: Ruby Port with Andong Jjimdak (soy-sauce braised braised chicken), Tawny Port with Galbijjim (braised beef short ribs), Vintage Tawny Port with Korean style Eel Stew, and last but not least, any kind of Port with Korean dessert Yanggaeng (sweet red bean jelly).

Joo Yong Chung, sommelier from renowned Korean barbecue restaurant Hanwoomaeul took the top student prize. He believes port is a perfect wine at family gatherings during holidays such as Chuseok (mid-autumn harvest festival) and New Year. Many festive Korean dishes include soy sauce which pair well with both Ruby and Tawny Port so both wine connoisseur uncle and wine novice cousin will enjoy the food x wine choice with friendly conversation.

The Vintage Port Academy Workshop: Shanghai 30th August 2023

2023 VPA workshop started in Shanghai. Lu Yang MS from Grapea delivered the workshop to a full house of sommeliers, F&B trade and importers' representatives.
The top student prize was awarded to Bill Yang, sommelier from Sukhothai hotel. He selected a Taylor's Vintage Port to pair with the Peking duck dinner in a one-star Michelin restaurant to celebrate the 5th wedding anniversary. The duck was coated with honey to make the skin shiny and flavour more intense, which goes better with the equally intense port than any red or white wine. His wife loves the duck from the restaurant and also loves vintage port. The pairing was perfect and most important of all, made the wife extremely happy!

The Vintage Port Academy Workshop: Taipei 5th December 2022

The last VPA workshop this year was held in Taipei. Yusen Lin, acclaimed wine writer, was the presenter and he shared his knowledge and experience and with 27 young professionals from the F&B trade.

Kevin Lu, chief sommelier from at Logy, co-presented with Yusen on servicing, tasting and food pairing. He suggested signature Taiwan delicacies including braised pork rice, taro pasty with egg yolk and tiger skin chocolate chiffon cake roll to pair with various styles of port.

Candice Lin, assistant sommelier from The Landis Taipei, was awarded the top student prize, a case of 6 half-bottles port, one from each house of VPA. In addition to celebrate her 50th birthday with a bottle of Vintage Port of her age, she would also celebrate her 30th, 40th and 50th birthday with a 30YO, 40YO and 50YO Tawny Port respectively (yes, two bottles of Port on her 50th birthday!). In any case, she thinks one can enjoy port at any time – with braised pork rice at lunch, taro pastry with egg yolk in the afternoon, braised pork knuckle at dinner and chocolate at super. Kevin obviously inspired her with the pairing ideas.

The Vintage Port Academy Workshop 2022: Shanghai 1st December 2022

VPA was happy to partner again with Grapea to deliver VPA workshop in Shanghai. Held on 1st December, the workshop was attended by 28 sommeliers and importers’ representatives.

Again Euan and Jorge welcomed the students via a pre-recorded video and talked about the history of port. Yang Lu MS then went through the topics in great details with students, followed by tasting of six ports from both the wood-aged and bottle-aged categories. 

Nyx Pan, sommelier from Hakkasan Shanghai took home the Top Student prize. She imagined the scene when she would be celebrating her 50th birthday with a bottle of Vintage Port of her birth year alone at her cosy home with a fireplace, sweets, cats and maybe snow outside, contemplating her life experiences with a port that was her age. Who said you cannot enjoy Vintage Port on your own? 

The Vintage Port Academy Workshop: Tokyo 21st November 2022

The VPA workshop was back in Tokyo again after three years. This time we had Mr Hiroyuki Seino, chief sommelier at Apicius French restaurant and Best Student of VPA workshop Tokyo 2019, to present the content to 24 enthusiastic candidates including F&B professionals, importers and educators. All students were attentive and passed the examination.

Mr Seino encouraged students to pair Port with Japanese cuisines, such as Tawny Port with Nagoya style Katsu (pork cutlet, crumbed and fried) with miso sauce, Late Bottled Vintage Port with Unagi Kabayaki (grilled eel glazed with reduced sauce of soy sauce, sugar and sake) and Vintage Port with Jibuni (Kanazawa Style Duck stew simmered with local vegetable in soy and broth).

The top student was awarded to Kentaro Tabu, chief sommelier from Philippe Mille Tokyo. He believes Port is a celebrating drink perfect to enjoy with team members after accomplishing projects; and to celebrate New Year with family members this year, he will open a Vintage Port to pair with A5 Wagyu Sukiyaki.


The Vintage Port Academy Workshop: Seoul 22nd April 2022

Attended by 28 attentive F&B professionals and personnel from the wine trade, the first VPA workshop in 2022 was delivered in Seoul in April by Moonsong Bang from Winevision. 

Minseok Kyung, respected sommelier in Korea and winner of the Korea Sommelier 2018, joined Moonsong to lead the 'Enjoying Port' session that included tasting, servicing and food pairing. He also inspired participants to experiment pairing Korean cuisines with port by making a few suggestions such as Ruby Reserve and LBV with desserts (Maejakgwa,Yakgwa, Yaksik), Tawnies with Pork Bulgogi, Seasoned Grilled Eel and Korean pancake; and Vintage Port with Tteokgalbi and Eonyang Bulgogi.

All participants were welcome to the VPA alumni group after passing the examination at the end of the workshop. The top student was Ha Nui Park, sommelier from Bistro La Comma, who was looking forward to celebrating her 60th birthday, the most significant anniversary in Korean culture, with a vintage port of or close to her birth year. 

The Vintage Port Academy Workshop: Hong Kong 30th November & 1st December 2021

Two VPA Hong Kong workshops were held over two consecutive days and attended by 30 people from F&B and the wine trade.

Euan Mackay and Jorge Ramos welcomed students via a pre-recorded video followed by a presentation on the history of port. Jorge Nunes from Symington Family Estates took students through the topics and led the tasting. One student from each workshop was invited to open and decant a Vintage Port after Jorge’s demonstration and, after the examination and presentation of certificates, students stayed to carry on the discussion and network.

The following day, Euan and Jorge joined from Porto via online stream to share their insights on port trends, the 2021 harvest, conduct a Q&A session with students, and announce the winner from across the two workshops – Clifford Lee (pictured).

Clifford, Director of the canned-food bar Mr Kanso, recounted the moments he has shared a glass of port with his grown-up son and talked about life, their feelings, and complaints – no matter the difficulty, he said, a glass of port would always help.

The Vintage Port Academy Workshop: Shanghai 21st Novemeber 2021

Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19 in terms of travelling restrictions, the VPA was still able to deliver a workshop in Shanghai via the partnership with Yang Lu MS to a group of 27 enthusiastic sommeliers and F&B professionals.

Euan Mackay of Symington Family Estates and Jorge Ramos, successor of Nicolas Heath at Fladgate Partnership, opened the workshop via a pre-recorded video introducing the Academy and the history of port. This was followed by a presentation on the Douro Valley, the making of port and the tasting by Yang Lu. 

During the marking of the examination, Euan and Jorge joined the students again via an online stream, answering questions and exchanging comments.

Congratulations to Jason Xu, Head Sommelier of Shanghai Tang Restaurant, who took home the top student award. Speaking of his experiences, he described a memorable occasion where an older couple decided to celebrate their wedding anniversary with Warre's 1977 Vintage Port – the year they got married.

Winemakers Charles Symington and David Guimaraens in Conversation with the VPA

The Vintage Port Academy is pleased to announce that it is holding a series of webinars with two of the Douro Valley’s most experienced winemakers, Charles Symington and David Guimaraens. The first webinar – Reflections on the Harvest and Winemaking – will be held on 21st October. The second – Discussions on Ageing and Blending – will be on 22nd October. Join one or both of the events by signing up here

Aged Tawny Port Photography Competition

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of VPA, we invited VPA alumni from Greater China to enter a photo competition. The theme is ‘Enjoying a 10 YO Tawny port’. We are pleased to announce the winner: James Teng, Lead Sommelier from The Middle House in Shanghai. The prize is 6 x 75cl 10YO Tawny port, one from each member in a tailor-made wooden box. James graduated from VPA in 2014 when he was a sommelier at Hakkasan.


Vintage Port Academy 1000th graduate 19th November 2019, Beijing

Between 2010 and 2018, 950 students have passed the VPA examination in Greater China and became alumni. We are excited to cross the 1000 mark this year, which is also the 10th anniversary of VPA. The 1,000th student to become VPA alumnus is Cheng Teng Teng, restaurant supervisor from Park Square in Beijing. Cheng received the VPA wooden box containing 6 half-bottles of 2000 vintage port, one from each member of VPA.


Trade tasting: Newly released 2017 Vintage ports and a selection of earlier vintages 21st November 2019, Hong Kong

The much awaited VPA Hong Kong trade tasting was attended by over 70 guests, who were lucky to taste the newly released 2017 vintage port from the six members of VPA, as well as one older vintage from each house. It is the first time to have two back to back declared vintages (2016 was a declared vintage) and Nick elaborated the distinctiveness of the two vintages. 2016 was a cooler vintage resulted in more elegant wine while the hot 2017 vintage produced wine rich and concentrated wine.

Euan took the opportunity to announce the 10th anniversary of the Vintage Port Academy. The Academy has run over 30 workshops in seven cities: Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Macau, Seoul and Tokyo and has some 1,200 alumni. Guests toasted to this achieved by VPA.


The Vintage Port Academy Workshop: Hong Kong 22nd November 2019

The VPA workshop has been running in Hong Kong for ten consecutive years since 2010. This year, we welcomed nearly 30 students from F&B and retail trade, as well as a few port enthusiasts.

Natalia Morrison, wine educator from AWSEC took the top student prize. Her best moment to enjoy a glass of port is with her husband in a quiet evening at the back porch and listen to the sounds of the world passing by. She said port is the type of wine that helps us focus on the present, enjoy what we are seeing, hearing and smelling. The almost meditative atmosphere also helps her appreciate the other finer things in life.

The workshop was followed by an African lunch. The exotic aromas and spices, combined with the richness of port, was a perfect finale of the Vintage Port Academy 2019 activities.


The Vintage Port Academy Workshop: Guangzhou 20th November 2019

The last stop in China was Guangzhou with 20 students including F&B members, distributors, educators and media.

The students were attentive and there was lively discussion of port based cocktail over lunch.

The top student prize, 6 half-bottles of 2000 vintage port, one from each member of VPA, in a unique wooden box, was awarded to Alice Ye, wine educator from AWSEC. She said she would serve a bottle of vintage port of her birth year with a delicious chocolate cake at her birthday gathering with friends and relatives. To share this special bottle shows how much she cares about the people around her and makes the celebration unforgettable.


The Vintage Port Academy Workshop: Beijing 19th November 2019

The second workshop in China had a full house, most of whom were from the F&B trade. Some attendees commented that the Vintage Port Academy workshop was the best of all masterclasses and workshops they have attended!

Rano Shi, restaurant manager at Conrad Tianjin, was selected as the top student with this scenario to enjoy port: Since Tawny port has some similarities with Chinese yellow wine, he would love to spend a peaceful afternoon at one of the old house restaurant by the river at Wu Town, order a plate of hairy crab, and enjoy with a small pot of hot yellow wine on the right, plus a glass of cool Tawny port on the left.

The networking lunch featured typical strong flavoured Chinese dishes including Hong Kong style crispy roast duck, Kung Pao chicken, beef in black pepper sauce and Shanghainese Xiao long bao (steamed dumpling), perfect to pair with port.


The Vintage Port Academy Workshop: Shanghai 18th November 2019

This was the first stop of the China tour and the eighth workshop in Shanghai, attended by 30 sommeliers, F&B professionals and importers. The informative workshop covered the vineyards in the Douro Valley, the making of Port and enjoying Port. The theory was then followed by tasting of six wine and an examination.

All students passed the examination and each of them received a certificate, a VPA 10th anniversary pin and a VPA cork puller.

The top student was Carrie Zhang, sommelier from Hakkasan. She reckoned a relaxing dinner with friends at the Bund with beautiful view of the river will be enhanced by enjoying a vintage port with chocolate dessert. The seamless pairing complements the small talk with friends.


The Vintage Port Academy Workshop, Tokyo 14 November 2019, Caplan Wine Academy

The first Vintage Port Academy Workshop in Japan was held at the Caplan Wine Academy on November 14th, 2019.

28 students including sommeliers, wine journalists and distributors participated in the seminar, tasting of six Ports and sat for the examination in the end.

All the participants successfully passed the exam with 7 students with full marks and the best student was selected by the well written answer in the essay part.

Mr. Hiroyuki Seino, Chief Sommelier of Restaurant Apicius, one of the finest French dining in Tokyo won the best student prize and awarded with a 6 bottle set of six vintage ports of 2000 vintage.

He recommends to select a Port for typical events in each season as Japan is known for having beautiful four seasons: young Ruby for cherry blossom viewings in spring and a white Port with soda will be good at fire work festivals in summer.  20 years Tawny is for maple tree viewing in autumn as trees and mountains turn into tawny colors. A glass of vintage Port will warm you up and takes fatigues away after skiing.  

Trade tasting: Newly released 2016 Vintage ports and a selection of earlier vintages Hong Kong, 2018

The Hong Kong trade was thrilled to have the opportunity to taste the highly acclaimed 2016 Vintage Ports from the six member houses of the VPA, alongside an older vintage from each house. The guests were encouraged to taste all the 2016 vintages to compare the different styles of each of the houses and then taste the two vintages side by side to see how they age in bottle. It was an enlightening occasion for professionals, wine connoisseurs and port enthusiasts. 



The Vintage Port Academy Workshop Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, November 2018

 This year the VPA welcomed 107 students to the VPA alumni community from Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Hong Kong during a hectic week of workshops in November. The workshops were followed by a sit-down lunch where they could match different styles of port from Ruby Reserve to Vintage Port with various dishes. The thumb ups pairing included sweet and vinegar spare ribs with Ruby Reserve, stir-fried crab with ginger and onion with Tawny 20 Year Old Port, Peri peri chicken with Late Bottled Vintage Port; and wok-fried beef cube with Vintage Port.

The top students this year who wrote the most impressive answer to persuade a fine wine collector to include Vintage Port in his collection, were:

Shanghai: Hu Meng from Aman Yang Yun Hotel, ‘… Let me remind you how cheerful you were when you were a little child and your grandfather gave you a rather special gift (vintage port) on your birthday…. And what’s the most terrific is, even your grand-grandchild can still enjoy it. It’s not only a gift, it’s a beautiful, lively heritage!

Beijing: Celine Liang from Pudao Wines, ‘… if one day you’re tired of the high-acidity, strong-tannin Italian wine, you can rest in a cosy armchair with your wife and cat, and enjoy this complex and harmonious sweet port wine’.

Guangzhou: Summer Wei from Grand Hyatt Guangzhou, ‘… We were born in the 80s so having a Vintage Port such as Dow’s 1985 in our collection is especially meaningful…’

Hong Kong: Michael Tully from Black Sheep Restaurants, ‘… You can give a bottle of (Vintage Port) to your son on his 18th birthday and he can enjoy it on his 50th birthday. You can try this with your favourite Bordeaux but all it’ll have after that time is a nice cooking vinegar…’

We have created a VPA alumni Facebook group, WeChat group (Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou) for networking and sharing our passion on port. Alumni, please join us.

Printed in