Cláudio Martins, the adventures of a Wine Advisor

The ambassador of the most expensive wine brand in the world is Portuguese. Cláudio Martins also has an internationally renowned client portfolio and some projects in Portugal. After traveling from serra da Estrela to London almost twenty years ago in search of new opportunities, and having traveled half a world, the good son to the house makes it.  

What takes a Star Saw kid to London? I went
to London in 2000, finished high school and didn't want to go to university, I preferred to work. Since I had family in London, I decided to go there to see what was going on. At that time I still did not dedicate myself to the wines, I had already worked in the hospitality business, but only later, when I worked in a restaurant bar that had more than 200 wines on the letter did I start to arouse interest for the wines. I was a waiter but I quickly passed the head of the bar, which opened up my 'appetite' to learn even more. Obviously, that started giving me another set. Then I wanted to take the WSET, study more, take other courses, including one of Marketing, and so if it was building my professional life.

England is not a wine producer par excellence, hence having the advantage of importing many wines from other countries of the world, which must have taken care of learning..
. Yes, no doubt, not being a country producer is a country where there are great shops and fantastic wine cellars, in addition to of large distributors. Having had access to this was all essential for the my training and also to learn more and more.

You worked in London in several projects but at some point decides to work on its own... When does that happen? It was a
t the beginning of 2014 at the time I was working on opening a wine shop in the financial centre of London and, soon after, I created my own company, the Martins Wine Advisor.  From there started consulting in different areas for private clients, and for an investment company in rare wines. But my focus was really the private clients with great financial capacity, who wanted to organise the their wine cellars, wanted wines to have at home, on yachts, in the jets Private...

And what they want these people?
Contrary to what one might think, these people don't just want Bordeaux or famous Burgundies and Dear. They buy wines like that, of course, but they also want someone who advise you to buy other different wines and also educate them in another Sense. They like to know new wines, deepen their knowledge and that's when I started to get it. It was from here that I started creating a networking, to have greater contact with this type of customers.

And from London you move on to the w
orld... Yes, mainly from 2016, the year in which I was invited to consult in a company of import and distribution of wines based in Zurich. The owner of this company was associated with Brignac's Champagne Armand. The brand was very directed to the night, parties and lifestyle, and they wanted to change a little, get closer to sommeliers. This company also had two stores and I worked with them in terms of remodeling, communication, rebranding, selection of different wines. One day, in one of these stores, a customer came in from Lichtenstein who invited me to work with him in Russia. He had there a company of import of wines and wanted to have distribution and shops. I ended up developing a project for the opening of ten stores  and also staff training... Deep down, I do everything a little in any part of the world...  Obviously contract people to help me in the different areas but i end up being the one coordinating everything, to deliver key projects in hand.  

Being the work alone, and being into so much, you can have time to all your clients?
I do a lot but i have a limited range of customers, about twenty, with whom I do some shares per year. They know they can count on me, call me at any time of the day and sometimes with the craziest requests. But with organization everything if Can. I have a close relationship with my clients, they even like that I'm there when they meet with friends, like to show that have a wine advisor. We end up having a close relationship, eventually winning Trust. They have money to buy Château Lafite, but they get very surprised and pleased when I present to them quality wines that can cost only twenty pounds or thirty pounds, for example!

What was the harder work they've been asked of to date?
 When I was in Moscow had to make a wine cellar for a private client who asked me to install in your wine cellars of Cooling. The space was immense, it looked like a football field, and I had to buy wines for all that. It gave me a lot of enjoyment but it was very difficult, the space was huge and the immense quantities. Only one of the rooms took ten thousand bottles of spirits! I sweated a lot but there I managed to deliver the Proposal...  

What about the most caricato
episode? Be in London on a Friday at eleven at night and receive a phone call asking for two boxes (12 bottles) from Petrus 1982. He said yes, i'd get it, Monday or Tuesday, but I was told the wines would have to be on a yacht in Saint Tropez before 3:00 p.m. the next day. Of course I spent all night making phone calls and ended up being able to gather the said bottles and went to get them on the next day at 9:00 a.m. At 10:30 he was already at the airport to catch the client's private plane. Not only could I get there before 3:00 p.m., But I ended up staying at the party (laughs).

What about Portuguese customers? I know you have projects i
n Portugal... Most customers are foreigners, but rather, I work with some national wine brands. I work or have I done something with Quinta de Santiago, Quinta de Lemos, Herdade dos Coelheiros, Quinta dos Avidagos... I now also have a partnership with Rodrigo Martins, the winemaker who makes the wine Espera and is also linked to producers such as Quinta da Silveira, Herdade do Cebolal or Quinta da Boa Esperança. He does funny things, we have a project to develop in the future and I think it's going to be funny.

One of the producers with whom Cláudio Martins works, Joana Santiago, quinta de Santiago, vinho verdes region. The partnership is about promoting the brand out there.

Do you feel that Portuguese wines are finally having visibility out there or not at all? One
of the serious problems in Portugal is to be known for being 'good value for money' and this has to end. I've been saying that for years. A quality wine necessarily has to cost more expensive, the quality is paid. People have gotten used to buying cheap Portuguese wine so much, that when a wine costs above average people are already suspicious. So they were so cheap in the old days and now they're at this price? Yes, but quality has to be paid....  There is a great lack of vision in Portugal. We must know how to communicate and believe in our product.

Taking advantage of us talking about prices... you work Liber Pater, which costs 30,000 euros a bottle, is the most expensive brand ever. How did this opportunity come ab
out? In 2018 I spent a lot of time traveling and promoting a brand, Angel Champagne, of which I am also ambassador. However, at the beginning of September of that year, a Marketing partner from Barcelona i work with, Marie, had a meeting with Liber Pater producer and winemaker Loïc Pasquet, not to work the commercial part, because his wines are always sold, but to find a more polished way to communicate them. That's how, along side Angel Champagne, I also started working on Liber Pater...  

Loïc Pasquet has been a very controversial personality, which turns out to be interesting in the to the extent that it is completely against the current
... He bought seven hectares in Graves, the less loved Bordeaux region, because he thought that that Bordeaux area, of very sandy soils, was the most conducive to viticulture prephyloxeric.  Of the seven hectares of property, only two hectares were planted with vines. At most, they are produced 1500 bottles, which are only launched for the market only 240. The rest are kept to later be sold at auction.  In addition, wine only comes out in years Exceptional. The first vintage was released in 2006, then 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015 and now 2018, which will be released at the end of next year. And it's already all sold! Every two days I have orders to buy the wine, but already there isn't!

Well, it looks like the marketing strategy worked! (laughs) R
eturning a little back, when Loïc came to us, he came very focused on the wine magazines. But I had a very serious meeting with him and suggested to him before information about wine in lifestyle and luxury publications in the New York Times, USA Today, Finantial Times... And so it was. Do you know what happened? Little time later had all the wine magazines behind us wanting to make a Article. They were the ones who came after us and not the other way around, and that was Fantastic.  

We already know that wine is special and that you will never say badly of it (laughs). But try to tell me what makes you so special, what are your sensations when you prove i
t? It is a very elegant wine, much to the genus of Burgundy wines. You know the pure, honest fruit. I think honest is really the right word... is a genuine, authentic and elegant wine. It has a great finesse. Loïc is using less and less barrels. In 2015 it has used mostly amphora and only 30% barrels used. And in the 2018 harvest, he's going out to the market, he's only used amphora. The wine is completely different, also because it is made with ancient varieties of Bordeaux, forgotten and rare, planted on a frank foot. It is undoubtedly a very special wine but it is definitely not a wine formatted for critics. It's normal for all this to arouse a lot of curiosity... Is it worth the 30, 000 euros? I'm not going to discuss this. It's a wine that gives me a great pleasure, that chills me and surprises me for everything I know about it, the history and work behind it. 

Cláudio Martins and Loïc Pasquet, with liber pater's 2015 harvest, launched in September

When he bought the property, did those vines already exist? T
here were already ancient vineyards that were abandoned, he had to replant them. It was a root project. The funniest of all is that, after all the controversy, at least 10 to 15 well-known producers in Bordeaux are betting on old castes.

It's always like this, Right? (l
aughs) Yes, there are always crazy people who come forward. Loïc Pasquet is a very genuine, it is he who works with the mule in the vineyards, which puts the labels on the bottles, he does everything, it's fantastic. He lives next door, five minutes from the property, so it's almost always there, unless you're traveling. When we will visit great Châteaux in Bordeaux usually never find there the owners, but he's always there and likes to be him to welcome people. And if you're out of the country, a presentation or dinner, sometimes I see it attached to the phone very concerned with the weather. You can see you're going to rain, you want to leave soon to take care of the vineyard. This is loïc, very controversial in what he believes, but very genuine and human.

Is that your draft election?
This and Angel Champagne are the projects that make me want to work more and more, because they are very challenging. But obviously, if I accepted the clients I have it is because I like working with them. I also have a new project in Portugal for a company in Monaco that bought several properties in Italy, New Zealand and now also wants to buy in Portugal. But it's not easy. in Portugal there are many barriers that do not allow the business to be done quickly, bureaucracy, too many people, finally, it is a bit tiring. For this reason, in the future I will also be involved in a company that will help deal with these matters, facilitate investors to purchase properties in Portugal.

And what made you want to go back to Portug
al now? We can currently work anywhere in the world. I lived in London for 20 years, and I had already spoken to my companion that I wanted to get out of there and live elsewhere. We thought in Portugal, of course, but also in Dubai, where she has family and where I also had some business. However, in 2018 we ended the relationship and obviously chose to come to Portugal. To work, I just need a computer, a cell phone and a nearby airport. We have a wonderful sun, good quality of life, the Portuguese are very spontaneous and I already missed it all. Besides, I have my daughter and my parents, who increasingly need me. I really like being in a family.

ACláudio Martins is Portuguese, was born in serra da Estrela and emigrated to England / London, where he deepened his knowledge about wine and became Wine Advisor. From 2000 to 2009 he was responsible in several d&d london group venues, such as Cantina del Ponte, Butlers Wharf Chop House or Coq D'Argent, one of London's iconic restaurants where wines play a relevant role. From 2012 to 2014 he was responsible for the New Street Wine shop, a wine shop with a winning concept that contained on the list about 900 wines from 34 different countries, located in london's financial district, the New Street Wine Shop, awarded as the best wine shop in London in 2013, along side the famous Hedonism Wines, by the renowned Decanter magazine. Between 2010 and 2017 he was a jury at the Decanter World Wine Awards. In 2014, Martins Wine Advisor (MWA), a London-based company, which provides consulting services to private clients and wine/beverage brands, launches on its own.  Witty. From 2018 it also starts in the area of the purchase of assets (vineyards and farms). Its portfolio currently includes about 20 international and national clients. One of its most famous customers is the producer of the Brand Liber Pater, the most expensive wine in the world.