A Portuguese prize for Julia Harding

Julia Harding MW

Julia has been named the Wines of Portugal Personality of 2022 in Europe.

Every year since 2020, ViniPortugal has chosen four Wines of Portugal Personalities of the Year – one each for Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa. Last Friday, 12 May, our very own senior editor Julia Harding MW was awarded the title for Europe.

As Frederico Falcão, president of ViniPortugal, explained in an email, ‘This initiative is a competition that starts with an open list of personalities who have distinguished themselves in 2021 and 2022 for their work on behalf of Portuguese wines, built with the contribution of all the Portuguese sectorial organisations.’

Julia has been spreading the word about Portuguese wines for far longer than that; her first trip, in fact, was in 2007, for a Douro Boys 5th anniversary tasting and auction (reported on here). That trip inspired a deep dive into Portuguese wines, reflected in both an award for 2011 Portuguese Wine Writer of the Year and a series of articles on every major wine-producing region in the country.

Today, a quick search of articles she’s written for JancisRobinson.com tagged ‘Portugal’ turns up 62 hits, covering everything from the Algarve in the south to Vinho Verde in the north, and over the ocean to the Azores as well. Long a staunch supporter of old vines and indigenous varieties as well as wines redolent of place, she’s found that Portugal offers plenty of fodder, with a wealth of old vineyards, unique indigenous vines, and a new generation of winemakers resurrecting old traditions such as talha winemaking.

Along the way, she’s become only more enamoured with the wines. As she says in her acceptance speech (sent in by video as she has been chained to her desk working on the proofs for the 5th edition of The Oxford Companion to Wine), ‘In those years, I’ve seen an increasing refinement and sophistication in your wines. They are not only good value for money at one end of the scale, but they are also good value at the highest level and they can compete with the greatest wines from around the world. And it’s that range of wines, made from your glorious grape varieties, in the most exciting regions of the country, that I absolutely love.’

Please join us in congratulating Julia on this recognition. And if you’d like to raise a glass of Portuguese wine to her, here are over 5,000 wine recommendations from her.