Events & News

Events & News

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.

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