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Upcoming Trip to Porto, Portugal and the Legal Protections of Port Wine

An epic adventure awaits me this upcoming week as I travel to Porto, Portugal, courtesy of Center for Wine Origins of Washington, D.C., to learn about the legal protections Portugal is pursuing to protect its highly-esteemed wine called Port. Port wine, under the federal law of the United States, is considered to be one of the sixteen semi-generic wines that currently are afforded legal protection by the United States government, but are not awarded as high of an indemnity as wines classified as non-generic. (See 26 U.S.C. § 5388.) The Douro River region of Portugal claims the origin of Port wine and, accordingly, seeks to augment the international level of protection for Port wines. Port—much like the French wine Champagne produced in the Champagne region of France—is produced under very strict legal regulations, the content and narrative of which I hope to report back with upon my return to the States, created by the Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto (IVDP). Just as the French hold Champagne in high regards, Port is considered a gift of nature to the people of the Douro region, an endowment both economically and aesthetically that is characteristic of the land, climate, topography, and the people of Portugal.

My trip to Port will be in the accompaniment of several other wine bloggers and journalists, whose introductions will be made in a later entry, in addition to Kate Connors and Jade Floyd of the Center for Wine Origins. Our trip boasts an exciting itinerary, starting in Porto, moving throughout the Douro region as we visit the Quintas of the local area and learn about their production and experiences with Port, with various dinners and tastings paired with Port wine. I am very excited to report back to On Reserve with the stories of my travels and the legal knowledge that I will certainly acquire from this trip. This trip will be a great opportunity to network with individuals in the wine industry, as well as enlighten others about wine and the law (especially considering I finally have business cards!).

Lindsey A. Zahn


Lindsey is the founder and author of On Reserve: A Wine Law Blog. She is an alcohol beverage and food attorney and is admitted to the New York State Bar.

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