D’Amato & Szabo: Wine Thieves

S2:E10: Portugal's Leading Brands Safeguarding Lands

October 26, 2022 John & Sara Season 2 Episode 10
D’Amato & Szabo: Wine Thieves
S2:E10: Portugal's Leading Brands Safeguarding Lands
Show Notes

The Thieves are  back in Europe to explore the wealth of indigenous grape varieties and stunning stunning old vineyards found in Portugal.  Exactly how this sliver of the Iberian peninsula has been able to safeguard traditions, vineyards and distinctive regional character is what Sara and John are out to learn. 

They have a hunch that large-volume producers have a role to play, and invite three important guests to investigate: Martim Guedes, the Co-CEO of Aveleda (along with Antonio Guedes). Martim’s great-great grandfather Manoel Pedro Guedes founded Quinta da Aveleda in the Minho region 150 years ago, helping the wines of Vinho Verde achieve international recognition . The company has since expanded to the Douro, Bairrada and Algarve, and exports to more than 70 countries.

Luís Almada is an Executive Board Member of Casa Santos Lima, a family owned company that makes wine in Lisboa, Algarve, Alentejo, Vinho Verde and the Douro, exporting 90% of its total production to more than 50 countries on 5 continents.  Casa Santos Lima is It is the largest single producer of Vinho Regional Lisboa (responsible for the production of more than 50% of all the certified wine in the Lisboa region) and DOC Alenquer.

Pedro da Fonseca is  managing partner of Vicente Leite Faria in the Douro Valley, drawing on fruit from estate vineyards as well as hundreds of small growers that together account for over 500 hectares of vineyards.  Born in Portugal but raised in Canada, Pedro studied at York University in Toronto before earning a Master’s degree from Harvard, and he's currently a PhD candidate at the London Metropolitan University. Pedro has a sincere love for wines of his mother country and their proliferation abroad.

 We delve into topics such as the incentivization of small growers by large producers,  land conservation, and the preservation and re-propagation of rare, indigenous grapes. Although other countries such as the Republic of Georgia, Greece, and Italy can also boast many indigenous grapes, Portugal claims the highest density, some 250 varieties across an area six times smaller than France (551,500 km² vs. 92,120 km²).  But many are on the verge of extinction. We’ll find out what large wine companies are doing to help protect and preserve grape varieties that are at risk such as Azal, Codega do Larinho, Sousao, Tinta Grossa, and Jampal, among many others.

Climate change has also affected Portugal harder than many wine regions, pushing Portuguese growers to become global leaders in responding to the climate threat.  You'll find out what environmental initiatives these leading brands have undertaken, and how have these practices have had an impact on the industry at large.

Join John and Sara for an invigorating discussion on the role of leading brands safeguarding land, grapes and traditions in Portugal.

Sponsored by ViniPortugal.