The port industry is facing a backlash over its use of a ‘no-holds-barred’ online portal which promises to reveal ‘the sauciest secrets of the kinky quintas’.
PortHub features thousands of ‘hot’ videos in categories including ‘20-year-old tawnies’, ‘single quintas near you’ and ‘vintage’. But some have said that its hosting of ‘explicit’ foot-treading content, ‘steamy, Douro baked’ vineyards and ‘kinky’ robotic lagares is dangerous and irresponsible.
Critics complain that PortHub’s support of the practice of ‘fortification’ exploits vulnerable grapes that could otherwise be made into perfectly good table wine, encouraging excessive port consumption among younger drinkers in particular.
‘Portographic sites like this give young men a completely unrealistic idea of what wine tastes like,’ said Tori Ganacional, anti-port crusader and founder of the Port Regulation and Information Group (PRIG). ‘They think everything is going to be high in alcohol and full of sugar.
‘Then, when they meet a nice, dry wine, they just don’t know how to react.
‘They keep trying to pass it to the left or drink it with Stilton.’
But site founder Juan Offdarist believes such views of port are outdated. ‘It’s about time we all got past this idea that using port is something to be ashamed of,’ he told Fake Booze. ‘I like it, you like it – some people might even have a couple of glasses a day, and why not?’
Offdarist maintains that all the ports featured on the site are ‘fully compliant with DOC rules’.
‘PortHub is carefully regulated, and we would never feature young or immature bottlings,’ he said.
‘Plus we don’t make the grapes do anything they don’t want to.
‘There’s nothing these varieties enjoy more than being pummelled by sweaty feet and having a shitload of brandy added to them.’
Not just men
Offdarist also dismissed the idea that most port users were male. ‘Some of our most frequent visitors are women,’ he said. ‘In fact, people all across society use port now. Even our local vicar likes nothing better than knocking out a quick LBV after Sunday service.’
The site’s fans have also voiced their support. ‘All PortHub is doing is catering for a taste that already exists,’ said Fife Nuckel-Shuffle, a member of Men In Love with Fortification (MILF).
‘Sure, there’s some slightly outré stuff on there involving colheitas and garrafeiras, but let’s be honest – it’s no more weird than drinking 20% abv, sweet red wine in the first place.
‘And it’s nothing like as extreme as some of the S&M [Sherry & Madeira] sites you can find.’
Keeping it clean
Offdarist added that PortHub was also careful to feature prominent warnings about the risks of overdoing port use.
‘We advocate moderation in all things,’ he said.
‘After all, nobody wants to end up with a nasty case of crusted Cockburn.’