Alexandre Gomes and Dialina Azevedo created a wine company based on family traditions linked to wine. The focus is on the production of organic wines.
A good Portuguese, somehow, always has its history linked to viticulture. And Alexandre Gomes's doesn't escape the rule. Baião was his holiday destination, in Casa do Arrabalde, property belonging to the maternal side for several generations. It was also there that he harvested the grape and saw the wine born, accumulating memories that still endure. Imbued with the enormous desire to make traditions endure, Alexandre decided, in 1991, after the death of his mother, to start planting a new continuous vineyard - instead of the traditional ramada driving system - with about 5.7 hectares, where vines of the region's indigenous varieties were grafted: Avesso, Arinto and Alvarinho. Only later, in 2005, was the company, A&D Wines, when Alexandre and his wife Dialina Azevedo also invested in the purchase of a new property of 7 hectares - Quinta dos Espinhosos - as well as in the restructuring of the winery, equipped with state-of-the-art technology for the production of quality wines.
Casa do Arrabalde wine was born in 2007, and in 2009 the first harvest of Espinhosos. Despite the enthusiasm, selling wines was not sweet pear. "We went on the road, we spent gallons of gas, but nobody called us. There were already many wine brands, ours was little known, and on top of that the financial crisis in 2008, and the consequent drop in wine consumption, did not help. We had no other remedy but to turn to export," says Dialina. "We then decided to go to PROWEIN and it went very well. The first importer concerned was a Belgian and, over time, other countries emerged from the European market. And later, the extra-community markets... By 2017 exports were around 98%. Only more recently did we turn to Portugal again," adds Alexandre.
The jump is made in 2015, with the purchase of another property in the sub-region of Baião - Quinta de Santa Teresa - and, consequently, the increase in production. Thus, the 33 hectares of the new land were added to the 5 hectares of Casa do Arrabalde and 7 hectares of Quinta dos Espinhosos, totaling 45 hectares.
Although they are properties located in the same sub-region as green wines, each farm has different characteristics. The vineyards of Arrabalde, for example, are protected by the butts of Marão and benefited by the combination of sunny days and fresh breezes, as well as well-drained granite soils, which result in wines of great freshness and quality.There, in the vineyard plots of more than 20 years, implanted at about 490 meters of altitude, dominate the varieties Avesso, Arinto and Alvarinho, surrounded by orchards and forest that enrich the biodiversity of the property. The maturation of the grapes is late, which contributes to wines of more intense aromas and flavors and good freshness.
The vineyard of Quinta dos Espinhosos, located at a quota of 470m, is protected by the forest area that surrounds it, highlighting there the avesso and chardonnay varieties conducted in royat cord. The property has good sun exposure and large thermal amplitudes.
Finally, Quinta de Santa Teresa, located on the border between the Vinhos Verdes region and the Douro region, with its vineyards implanted in granite and shale soils, between 150 and 340m attitude. There, the varieties Avesso, Arinto, Alvarinho and Malvasia are produced for the whites and Touriga nacional and Vinhão for the production of rosé. The vineyard is composed of restructured plots about 10 years old and other plots of old vineyards.
In this property, the bursting happens early, the maturations are early and the vineyards are set on terraces separated by large granite walls. This is the location of excellence of Avesso, a variety with remarkable acidity, which enjoys complete ripening, allowing to reveal in monocast wines its great aging potential. "The Caste Inside out is our big bet. It is present in all our wines, except in monocastes, of course," says Dialina. "Our oldest vineyard in Quinta de Santa Teresa is more than 200 years old and still produces about 18 kg of grapes every year, which we add to other grapes from old vineyards to make one of our top wines, The Carved", says Alexandre.
The focus on biological certification
A common feature of these properties is the fact that they all produce in biological mode, something that was initially not easy. "When we acquired Santa Teresa in 2015, we began to think seriously about the issue of biological certification. It was a difficult adaptation. At first we had some losses but now we realize the behavior of the vineyards, how nature works and interconnects, the importance of biodiversity... we know that it is an agriculture that carries many more risks but we believe that it is the right way", says Alexandre. It is from this property that the Monologue brand emerges, launched through several monocastes. The wines of all thursdays are signed by winemaker Fernando Moura.
For Alexandre and Dialina, the preservation of the ecosystem (water, biodiversity, man's intervention) are priority factors when the goal is to produce natural and terroir wines. They support local communities, recruit and train collaborators valuing the authenticity of the region, and foster the sustainability of the project, with full awareness of the legacy they have received and want to leave to future generations. They promote soil regeneration by reincorporating properly composted by-products of the vineyard (films, leaves, pruning material), as well as the development of soil cover plants that help to fix nutrients in it. Obviously, it is an agriculture that does not resort to synthesis products or herbicides, investing rather in the prevention of the health of vineyards. The development of flora and fauna also helps to control the expansion of diseases. Properly controlled vegetation cover contributes to the preservation of adequate soil water content. Here, water is seen as a precious asset and its use is managed judiciously. Finally, pasture in the vineyard during vegetative rest helps to control the growth of soil vegetation cover and contributes to the natural fertilization of the same. All these measures are in line with an increasingly conscious and responsible trend.
Investment in Ecotourism
Upon acquiring Quinta de Santa Teresa, Alexandre and Dialina soon realized the potential of the property for the performance of oenotourism activities. There are several buildings of relevant architectural value, from the main house to smaller ones, both housing and support to agricultural activity. For these structures are thought some projects, which later will certainly serve to welcome even more visitors or serve as a structure to what already exists. In one of these spaces was installed the farm shop where visitors can fill up before leaving.
For now, in addition to visiting the vineyards, gardens and lakes on the property, visitors can taste wines or even dine upon reservation in the panoramic tasting room that covers part of the pool, overlooking Baião and the Douro Valley.
Recalling the brands of the varied range of A&D Wines, arise the LIV (export wines), casa do Arrabalde, Quinta dos Espinhosos and monocastas Monoólogo. The singular brand is a blend of varieties of old vineyards.
More recently, A&D Wines has launched two new additions, both from the 2018 harvest, representing the top wines produced on the Santa Teresa farm. The Carved (name inspired by the old and twisted vineyards, authentic natural sculptures) and the first rosé of the brand, the Pintado (name inspired by the rosy color of the wine). The Carved is a wine produced with the oldest grapes of Avesso of the property and reveals the great quality, structure and freshness of this variety. Elegant in aroma and taste, it is a claw white, with well integrated wood, which reveals its great potential to evolve into bottle. Like pintado, produced from the vineyards of Touriga Nacional and Vinhão. To produce pintado, tear must is used, which is later fermented in wood. This wine is fruity, mineral and very fresh. Very balanced and elegant.