Bento Amaral – The Port Wine Master

He holds a degree in Food Engineering and works at the Port Wine Institute (IVDP), where he currently assumes the functions of Director of Technical Services and Certification, a role he accumulates with the position of professor at the Catholic University of Porto. A striking personality of the Portuguese wine world to which no one is indifferent.

When did you start your interest in wine? Inter
est in wine was aroused close to 20 years, by the mystery that involved it, the passion of the people who worked with him and who in his words were noted that they breathed the wine. And also because it is an important product in the city in which he lived, Porto. For all this, I was curious to know him better.

Your course is food engineering. When did you feel that wine was the way forward?
The first enthusiasms were around the third year of the course, wanting to deepen this great curiosity about wine. But the ultimate certainty was when I did an Erasmus in the fifth year, when I was in Bordeaux. Then I really fell in love with wine. I knew that's what I wanted to work on.

In addition to being responsible for the Chamber of Tasters, he also teaches at Sim Unive
rsity, in addition to my work at IVDP, I teach sensory analysis classes in the post-graduations of oenology at the Catholic University of Porto. For me it is a pleasure to be able to talk about a theme that i like as much as wine is. I have had interested students, many of them already with a successful professional career, which allows an exchange of opinions that also values me. For this, it's all a real pleasure to teach.

Is Port wine a passion? Yes
, it's a passion. For its history, diversity, quality, notoriety and prestige abroad, honoring Portugal and my city, Porto. It is a privilege to taste wines that are sometimes over 100 years old or have the ability to age that amount of years. And also for having the possibility to taste wines as diverse as a Vintage or a Tawny at the age of 40, passing through white ports and rosés. For all this, Port wine is a passion.

What was port wine that proved that impressed you the most? There
are several, but given my professional position I didn't like to talk about brands. However, as I said earlier, I would say that wines that are too old or that have the ability to grow old for a long time impress me. From what they 'saw' the history of man, for the years that have passed and yet they find themselves with great quality. They are wines that over time were gaining quality, something That I would like to happen to my life, that with the passage of time was gaining wisdom. New wines, such as Vintage 2011, which have enormous aging potential, and that will continue to bebable already after I have died, impress me by the quality they have at birth, but also because they will continue with the same quality, but winning different features, going to last much longer than I...

Tell me a cartoon episode that happened to you in the wine world... Th
e story has a relative joke, but at the moment I didn't find any! I was in a class commenting on a foreign red wine with a glass of wine in front of me, and each student was describing the sensory characteristics of it. I began to describe, using the most common descriptors of the grape variety of this wine. At one point, I began to find that wine a little strange for the caste profile. At the time after I realized that they had changed the order of the wines and that I was talking about a wine from a different variety. Fixed the situation, but it was for students to understand the conditions that exist in the test. Thinking it's a certain wine, we find in it the aromas we're looking for, even if they're not there. For me it was a lesson in humility like so many others I have had when tasting wines. For my students it must have been a joke to see the teacher cheat and speak wrongly of a wine in a convincing way!

Tell me about a personality from the wine world who marked
it? There are several such as João Nicolau de Almeida, by the 'artistic' way of interpreting wine and its humility. Another example is Dirk Niepoort, for his vision, enthusiasm and passion for wine. Finally, I did not want to fail to make a reference to a legal person who are all workers around the wine, who dedicate their lives to producing it, from small producers and winegrowers, to the managers of large companies. I have enormous respect for those who invest a year of work to produce the wine they want to be the best possible.


It started in the practice of very new sailing, but at the age of 25 an accident on the beach (was projected by a wave and broke the spine) left it quadriplegic. That didn't move him from new challenges. He began practicing adapted sailing, winning medals in competitions and winning champion in the world championship held in San Felice Circus (Italy). This striking personality of enormous intelligence and sensitivity is also revealed in your professional life. He graduated in Food Engineering and, in 1999, began working at the Port Wine Institute (IVDP), where he was Head of the Port Wine Tasters Chamber until 2013. From this date to date, it is the Director of Technical Services and Certification, the department that certifies the wines of Douro and Porto, after analysis and proof. Alongside these functions, he is also professor of Sensory Analysis in the post-graduations of oenology at the Catholic University of Porto.

Complementing his career, in 2009 he was awarded by the President of the Republic with the Order of Infante D. Henrique. It was also decorated in 2014 as 'Chevalier dans l'Ordre du Mérite agricole' by the French Government for providing relief services in the field of agriculture, industries related to the agri-food area, and in public services, as well as for development of cooperation relations with France in this area.

In the 2011 legislative elections, he was part of the lists of the Hope Portugal 2 Movement. In 2013, he released the book "Survive" in which he recounts his experience of life (as well as winemaker and teacher, was a quadriplegic athlete, champion of the sailing world adapted in 2005 and represented Portugal at the 2008 Paralympic Games).