Adrian Bridge

CEO at The Fladgate Partnership


"I love the UK wine market - it is full of passionate people, diverse wines and is an exciting place to sell. the UK consumer is much more open to learning these days which makes it a great place to do business." 




In 1983 Adrian was commissioned into The 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards after being awarded the ‘Sword of Honour’ as the leading officer cadet of his year at Sandhurst.  After five years military service, during which time he spent a year peacekeeping with the United Nations, he left the city to join an investment bank.  He joined NatWest Investment Bank in London where he rose to be head of US equity sales.


In 1994, he and his wife moved out to live in Portugal where he took control of the company’s brands, Taylor’s Port and Fonseca Port, in the UK and USA markets.  He accompanied first hand the changes in the UK market and was involved in the rapid expansion of the USA Port market during the 1990’s.

In 2000, he formally took over the role of Managing Director of the Taylor Fonseca Port Group.  Having been instrumental in the group buying the assets of Borges Port in 1999, he further expanded the company with the purchase of Croft Port and Delaforce Port in 2001, from Diageo.  The subsequent reorganization of the group, to form The Fladgate Partnership, and repackaging of these brands has helped the group to become a leading supplier of Port in the major premium markets of the world.

The Fladgate Partnership has invested substantially in vineyards and wineries in the last few years and has maintained a pioneering role in this area.  Unlike all other Port companies The Fladgate Partnership has chosen not to invest in a Douro table wine project but has maintained its focus on the production of quality Port.

In 2010, The Yeatman Hotel was launched – this luxury wine hotel has been Adrian’s project for over 5 years and he was involved in every detail of the concept, design, branding  and launch of the hotel.  For this he was awarded the ‘Gold Medal’ of the City – the highest civic honour a municipality can bestow.


Q & A

How did you get started in the wine trade?

Through my wife who has been in it longer than me.  My father-in-law asked me to come and take over his family business back in 1994. Since then I have worked to expand the company and place it on a very secure footing for the next generation.


What’s been your proudest achievement to date?

My latest had been creating The Yeatman – a luxury wine hotel in Porto that has absorbed much of my time in the last five years.  Prior to that is was creating a first new style of Port for 40 years – Croft Pink Port.


Describe yourself in three words…

Driven, creative and adventurous


What would you do if you weren’t in the wine trade?

Climb mountains and take photographs


Provide a brief description of your vineyards?

The Douro valley is a hostile wine region that has been tamed by man over the centuries. Steep hills are terraced, the sun bakes in August but through man’s ingenuity the region produces one of the world’s greatest wines.


What is your winemaking philosophy?

We respect tradition which is why we still tread our grapes but we are always inquisitive to discover new and better ways to do things.


What’s your most exciting grape variety?

The Touriga National is probably the most complete grape variety that we grow.


What do you consider to be your biggest challenge of winemaking?

Making the next Vintage Port better than the last.


Describe where you see the challenges and future development of Port?

Port is enjoying a renascence with younger consumers yet is also still very popular with older age groups – finding the way to communicate with such diverse consumer group in over 60 countries is a challenge.


How do you find / what are your experiences of the UK wine market?

I love the UK wine market – it is full of passionate people, diverse wines and is an exciting place to sell. The UK consumer is much more open to learning these days which makes it a great place to do business.


If you could own one wine property in the world what would it be?

When you already have Quinta de Vargellas why look elsewhere.


What’s your favourite wine and who would you share it with?

Taylor 1963 Vintage Port (my wife and I were born that year) and like many things from 1963 it is still young and vibrant yet sophisticated and complex.


Favourite place to relax away from the vineyard?

We have a beach house in Afife, in Northern Portugal, where I escape to when possible – the sort of place that where a weekend recharges the batteries as much at a week off.


Your favourite restaurant in the world and why?

Mariana in Afife where the fish is so fresh.


Name your desert island dish and wine?

Desert island means either fish or coconuts so I will opt for grilled fish and a glass of Bollinger Grande Année.


What’s the best wine you’ve ever made?

In my first year in Portugal we made the Taylor 1994 and Fonseca 1994 Vintage Ports.


Do you collect anything?

Nothing other than 19th century watercolours, antiquities, swords and wine glasses from the last 2500 years.


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