Graham’s Profile: Peter van Houtert of Verbunt Wijnkopers

Graham’s Ports are distributed in 50 markets around the globe, and our own market managers here in Vila Nova de Gaia rely on the expertise of our world-wide network of distributors to share their enthusiasm for Port in their own regions and countries.

Peter van Houtert, standing right, leading a tutored tasting of Graham’s Ports

In Holland, Peter van Houtert, Purchasing and Sales Director of Verbunt Wijnkopers, is passionate about Port wines, and his broad knowledge and love of fine wine, fine dining and cigars have made him an extraordinary ambassador for Graham’s.

Peter organises 100 events a year to educate both the on-trade wine and food professional customers of Verbunt and the retail consumers of affiliate Wijnkring.  Many of these events go beyond basic education and tastings to demonstrate how wines can be enjoyed in the context of fine dining.

Typical of his approach is the masterclass held at DaVinci Restaurant last year.  The idea came about when Peter and his family stopped there for lunch themselves one day, and Peter enjoyed a dish of hare which had been prepared with chocolate.  It occurred to him that Port could pair well with the dish, and he spoke with Margo Reuten, the two-star Michelin chef of DaVinci, about his idea.  Intrigued, Margo agreed to collaborate with Peter on an event to showcase Port with both savoury main course dishes as well as desserts.  The resulting event was a tremendous success, and the video produced by Verbunt does a wonderful job of conveying the curiosity, pleasure and enthusiasm of the diners for both the wines and the food pairings.

Similarly, Peter himself takes great pleasure in the combination of Port with cigars, as he feels that Port has the optimum alcohol level and flavour profile to balance well with fine handmade cigars.  He has teamed up with Hajenius, a nearly two-century old cigar emporium in Amsterdam, to hold regular tastings of Graham’s Ports with selected cigars.  These tastings have proven very popular, and have introduced many people to Port who might not otherwise have explored the wine.

Paul Symington and Euan Mackay welcomed Peter, centre, as a member of the Confraria do Vinho do Porto

In recognition of his passion and innovation in promoting Port Wine in the Netherlands, Graham’s Sales Director Euan Mackay nominated Peter to become an Honorary Member of the Confraria do Vinho do Porto, the Porto-based organisation of Port wine professionals.  Peter was enthroned just before the São João holiday, and went on to spend the weekend in the Douro at Dow’s Quinta do Bomfim and Graham’s own Quinta dos Malvedos with Euan, returning on Sunday in time to join the annual race of the barcos rabelos aboard Graham’s boat.

We are looking forward to working with Peter on some special events this year – if you are in Holland watch the Verbunt, Wijnkring and Hajenius websites for notices, and of course we will continue to highlight his extraordinary dinners and tastings here on the Graham’s Blog.

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