Meet António Lopes – Star Wine List’s new Portugal ambassador

António Lopes.

We are happy to welcome sommelier, consultant and educator António Lopes as Star Wine List’s new ambassador for Portugal. Now we’re also launching our first wine guide to the country: Lisbon!

”I’m looking forward to getting to know people from the business, and helping those who visit us to embrace the Portuguese wine scene,” says António about his new role.

Antónios interest in wine started back in 2008, when, after finishing an internship in hospitality and management and having started his professional career, he had the opportunity to work with sommelier Paulo Duarte at Vila Vita Parc. That was the spark that kicked off his career, and since then he has worked at several high-end restaurants, and he has also received awards for his work – like being named Sommelier of the Year by Revista Wine in 2014.

"Today I’m consulting, guiding and teaching about wine a service. I'm also part of the panel for the best wine magazine in Portugal."

How would you describe the dining/drinking scene in Lisbon at the moment?
"I would say Lisbon is now very trendy, new places pop up like mushrooms, and gastronomy is at its peak with a diversity of cuisines. Just a few years ago, apart from fancy hotels, it was pretty hard to find an international wine, but nowadays we have restaurants with only that."

How much has it changed in recent years - and what have been the biggest changes?
"I pretty much summed it up above, but Lisbon of today is way more cosmopolitan than before. A lot of foreigners have invested in restaurants and that has helped too."

More and more people ask for lower alcohol, less extraction, higher acidity, and terroir purity

What are the biggest drinking trends in Lisbon you have noticed?
"Natural wine. I believe it’s becoming so trendy that most of the wine bars nowadays have at least 10-20 per cent of natural/biodynamic/low intervention wines."

And what wines/styles/regions are particularly in demand?
"More and more people ask for lower alcohol, less extraction, higher acidity, and terroir purity. Bairrada and Burgundy are very trendy. Of course, Champagne and bubbles in general are insanely consumed."

How important do you think wine is to the complete offer in Lisbon's restaurants and bars?
"Throughout the history of Portugal, this country has had a deep connection to wine, there is no Portugal without wine and no wine without Portugal. Also, it is one of the most exciting wine places in the world with 267 grapes to discover, planted in extremely different terroirs from north to south."

How price-sensitive are customers when it comes to wine?
"Very little nowadays, people are more and more willing to spend money on wine. Tourism has helped a lot with that. Before you could hardly sell a bottle for 100€, but today you charge that for a glass (of something special of course)."

What is your preferred wine at the moment?
"I would say Madeira, bubbles and old whites and reds, but it’s basically up to my mood."

Published 18-January-2024
Interview / Portugal

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