Wines from Portugal 2021: meet the women who command the production on the farms

In the 19th century, D. Antónia Adelaide Ferreira, known as Ferreirinha, was one of the most respected women in the Portuguese wine world. Port wine producer, owner of dozens of estates in the Douro, had vision and was determined and innovative.

But despite his example, wine remained for a long time a male-dominated universe. Today, it’s not like that anymore. There are many — and more and more — women, winemakers and producers, spread across all regions of Portugal, signing award-winning wines and investing in innovative and sustainable practices. Here we present 13 of them that will be present in the eighth edition of Vinhos de Portugal.

Leonor Freitas, from Casa Ermelinda Freitas

She is a kind of D. Antónia Ferreira, first in the Setúbal Peninsula, now in the Vinho Verde and Douro region. “Everything that wine gives, we invest in it. Everything. My family and I live in comfort, but luxuries don’t appeal to us. My extravagance is, from time to time, to buy another vineyard. That, yes, makes me happy”, he says.

An only child, Leonor entered the world of bulk wine with the death of her father, in order to avoid the sale of vines. In the early 1990s, the public health professional knew nothing about wine, but inherited 60 hectares of vineyards in Setúbal — today there are more than 500 — and increased family income from tens of thousands to a turnover of 30 millions of euros.

This is a house that has long prided itself on being run by women, being Joana, daughter of Leonor, the youngest of a lineage that, if we go back in time, started with Leonilde Freitas, passing to Germana and, finally, Ermelinda, Eleanor’s mother.

Dorina Lindemann, from Quinta da Plansel

In 1961, the German sailboat Hans Jörg Böhm, Dorina Lindemann’s father, was shipwrecked in the port of Cascais and he discovered Portugal, where he later bought a property in Montemor-o-Novo, Alentejo, and began research and improvement work. of national varieties. Dorina lived with her mother in Germany, but couldn’t wait to join her father and the vineyards at Quinta da Plansel.

She grew up in love with wine and grew up in a world still dominated by men. She got an internship at a winery in Germany: “It was rare to have a space for women in the winemaking part, there were only men”, she says. Later, he studied oenology at the university, where “there were also 99 men and two women”.

Having already graduated, she came to Portugal in 1993: “I told my father that I was here now and that we were going to make wines”. Today, at Quinta da Plansel — where she enjoys working with single varietal wines, with a special passion for Touriga Nacional — , Dorina has two other women beside her: her daughters, Luísa (“who walked in the vineyard since she was little”) and Júlia ( “ who likes marketing best”).

Antonina Barbosa, from Falua

Graduated in Biochemistry, Antonina Barbosa’s fate seemed to be destined to the studies of aromatic compounds in wines at the School of Biotechnology of the Catholic University of Porto. But at the invitation of João Portugal Ramos (“the most charismatic winemaker I know”), she ventured into winemaking.

If she did not have technical knowledge in the industry, she had the advantage of having a very good understanding of the chemical processes in wine, an area that continues to fascinate her, which is noticeable in some of her recent wines.

Does mastery of chemistry help? “Yes, chemistry and study, a lot of study. I’m a fan of the idea that to make things simple and with little intervention you have to know a lot”.

Director of winemaking at Falua (which is currently divided between two regions, the Tagus and the Vinhos Verdes) since 2019, Antonina Barbosa aims to make wines, focus on viticulture (“this is where the challenges lie”) and go unnoticed: “I want to be totally focused on what we already do and what we are going to create in the short, medium and long term. I don’t appreciate the spotlight,” he explains.

Catarina Vieira, from Herdade do Rocim

She’s not sure if it was her grandfather’s bike rides to the vineyards when she was a little girl that determined her passion for wine. “But that could have been it”, admits Catarina Vieira, now head of Herdade do Rocim (Vidigueira, Alentejo), together with her husband, Pedro Ribeiro. What is known, without a shadow of a doubt, is that he grew up with an admiration for his grandparents and the connection they had with the land.

Therefore, Catarina’s relationship with wine also began with the land, with the vineyard. He took the Agronomy course, which gave him “a concrete perspective, but also very demanding, a lot of mental elasticity, a lot of rigor”. Hence the central concern in his work with sustainability in all phases of the wine-making process.

In 2013, Pedro joined the winery and, together, they work on wines that want “elegant and sober, with freshness and minerality”, and also that are “very gastronomic”. The two are fighting for something they consider absolutely essential: “Slowing down the impact of climate change.”

Lígia Santos, from Caminhos Cruzados

She exchanged professional stability for the challenge, when she left a career in Law to lead Caminhos Cruzados, a wine company that was born from a project dreamed of by the family in 2012, in Nelas, in the Dão region, and which was recently acquired by the Terras group and Terroir, also owner of Quinta da Pacheca.

Young and dynamic, Lígia represents Caminhos Cruzados at international fairs and says that, although women are increasingly respected in this environment, she does not forget an episode she lived in an Asian country, where, after talking to her, a potential client asked if you could talk to the father or the husband to close the deal.

Anna Jorgensen, from Cortes de Cima

The Nordic genes are in her face and blond hair, but Anna is an Alentejo woman. Daughter of the Jorgensen couple, he Danish and she American, Anna Jorgensen grew up on a traditional farm, in Cortes de Cima, next to Vidigueira, which her parents bought in the late 1980s.

Since 2019, she is only 27 years old and with surprising confidence, who has taken on the viticulture and oenology of the huge estate of Cortes de Cima. It set itself the goal of creating stronger and healthier plants “so they can defend themselves”. The concern with sustainability is central to the way they look at wine, which involves a deep attention to pruning, for example. Anna wants to do a “minimalist viticulture” and works to have fewer grapes, but with higher quality.

Olga Martins, from Lavradores de Feitoria

Graduated in Chemical Engineering, she decided to specialize in Oenology and launched herself in the wine world with determination and a lot of energy. She became the general director and face of the Lavradores de Feitoria project, a meeting of a group of wine producers from the Douro region who believed that together they would go further. In 2001, alongside her husband, winemaker Jorge Moreira, she founded Quinta do Poeira, in Vale do Pinhão, also in the Douro.

Rita Nabeiro, from Adega Mayor

Granddaughter of Comendador Rui Nabeiro (from Delta cafes), she continues one of her grandfather’s dreams: recovering the tradition of making wine in Campo Maior, Alentejo, close to the Spanish border. Rita Nabeiro is currently general director of Adega Mayor, whose wines are born in a winery designed by Siza Vieira, Pritzker Architecture Prize. She does not deny that the arrival of a young woman to lead the project was challenging, but she conquered her place, assuming her own style, which values ​​people above all, seeking to humanize the business more and more.

Laura Regueiro, from Casa Amarela

Graduated in History, former teacher, passionate about the Douro, excellent cook and storyteller. Laura Regueiro owns Casa Amarela, which has been in the family since the mid-19th century. The project continues to be familiar, with Laura in charge of the administrative part and working alongside her husband, Gil, responsible for wine tourism, and her son, also Gil.

Maria Serpa Pimentel, from Quinta da Pacheca

Quinta da Pacheca is one of the historic properties of the Douro, which already in the 18th century belonged to a woman, D. Mariana Pacheco Pereira, “Pacheca”. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was bought by the Serpa Pimentel family, which more recently sold it to the Terras e Terroir group, but keeping the winemaker Maria Serpa Pimentel in charge of the production of their wines — one of the first students of the Enology course at the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, where she later became a teacher, and where she trained many of today’s winemakers. When she started her career, being a woman in the wine world “wasn’t easy”, she admits, but the situation has changed. Maria Serpa Pimentel is a quality reference in Douro wines, just as Quinta da Pacheca is in wine tourism.

Patricia Peixoto, from Santa Vitória

Since 2006, Patrícia Peixoto works in Santa Vitória, in Alentejo. Currently, she is the oenologist of the project belonging to the Vila Galé hotel group. Graduated in Oenology at the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, she fell in love with the scientific area, having studied aromatic compounds in different varieties. Today, it explores the advanced winemaking technologies of Santa Vitória to make wines that aim to reconcile the modern with the tradition.

Martta Reis Simões, from Quinta da Alorna

Granddaughter of farmers, since she was a child, Martta liked to go to the harvest. The passion was confirmed later when, as a teenager, he accompanied his father to the meetings of the Confraternity of Enófilos da Extremadura. And it was with a woman, Ausenda Matos, at Quinta do Noval, that he entered the world of oenology, later graduating at the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro. It is from the more than 200 hectares of vineyards at Quinta da Alorna, in the Tagus region, that, since 2003, it makes its award-winning wines.

Mariana Cavaca, from Adega de Redondo

Master in Oenology and Viticulture, Mariana Cavaca is a young oenologist who has been working in Alentejo for a decade. He passed by Solar dos Lobos and Tiago Cabaço Winery before, in 2016, he joined Adega de Redondo, where in 2021 he took over as oenology director.

Vinhos de Portugal is produced by the newspapers O Globo, Público and Valor Econômico in partnership with Viniportugal, with the participation of IVDP, Douro and Porto Wine Institute, support from the Alentejo Wine Commission and the Setúbal Wine Commission, official restaurant Bairro do Avillez, project by Out of Paper.

Know how to buy your tickets

Sale: subscribers of the newspapers O GLOBO and Valor Econômico have a 20% discount. Test values: from R$500 to R$770 + taxes (for general tastings with bottles of wine) and R$975 + fees (for premium tastings with bottles of wine). Talk show values: R$100 + fees (with gift box). Information: wines

About Abhishek Pratap

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