Joana Silva Lopes: budding winemaker

Joana Silva Lopes works at Quinta do Casal Branco, in Almeirim, and reveals through her work the passion she has for wine. Graduated in Agronomic Engineering, specializing in Viticulture and Oenology from the Instituto Superior de Agronomia, in Lisbon, he finished the course in 2007 and then headed for Alentejo to work at the producer Encostas de Estremoz. In the middle he traveled to Australia and South Africa, where he interned and visited several regions and wineries.  In 2014 he moved to Quinta do Casal Branco, tagus region, where he still works today. In addition to the medals already won in national and international competitions, in 2014 won the award for the best work of the Order of Engineers (College of Agronomy) in the area of viticulture, and in 2017 was elected winemaker of the year at the gala that awarded the best wines of the Tagus region.

He has worked in Alentejo and now in tagus. Other than these, what other national region would you choose to work f
or? I have two regions of choice. The first, Lisbon, because it is my region, where I was born and lived.  That's where my roots are with an ancient wine-linked history. I deeply believe in the potential of this region. Then the Douro, because it is a unique region, with extraordinary beauty and an indisputable potential, in the production of premium red wines. 

What if I had to leave Portugal where would you like to work? I'd go
back, without hesitation, to Australia.  I had a unique experience of life and work the time I was there. He chose the South Australia area, in particular the Wine Region of Eden Valley, next to barossa valley.   

What wine do you like to make the mos
t? Today I prefer to make white wines, for the redoubled care they require, from the moment of grape harvesting to bottling.  They're detail wines, I like that. 

What wine would you like to make and haven't done ye
t? A Vintage.

What are your favorite grape varieties?
In the reds, the grape varieties I've had the opportunity to work, I highlight Touriga Franca and Alicante Bouschet.  In whites, Fernão Pires, if possible from an old vineyard in Charneca Ribatejana.

The perfect wine is the one who...
... is genuine, expresses the terroir. No make up!

Apart from the wines you make, what wine would you like to offer to a public figure you admire
?  He offered a Henschke Hill of Grace to Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.  Because it's one of my 'Top 3' wines, a special wine that we only get to realize better after we know the whole family history that produces it and that of a unique vineyard.  Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, has also surprised me. To me and most Portuguese, for their integrity, wisdom and for sensitizing and mobilizing all Portuguese. He deserved this wine. A wine full of history, for those who are already making history.

© Photograph: Gonçalo Villaverde