Vineyards in Lava Lands

"This is a viticulture of stones and winds". The phrase is by the winemaker Paulo Machado and perfectly defines the type of work that is done in the vineyard, in several Azorean islands. But now we are at Pico, the island where Paulo - together with winemaker António Maçanita and economist Filipe Rocha - founded in 2014 The Azores Wine Company, a company that has been developing a unique role in the study of indigenous varieties, in the recovery of currais ( volcanic stone walls that serve to house the strains of seawater and seawinds), and in increasing the production of quality wines.

Before Ovid (a of the most nefarious diseases of the vineyard that strongly attacked the strains in 1853), existed on the island about 6000 hectares of vines, a number that dropped considerably over the decades. In 2004, when the landscape of the culture of the vineyard of the Pico Island was classified by UNESCO, only 120 Hectares. However, a new wave of Community support and the resurgence of interest in the recovery of vineyards began to show in such a way that currently the vineyard area already reaches 1000 hectares.    

Paulo Machado belongs to the fourth generation of a family linked to the culture of vines and wine on pico island and therefore sees this evolution with good eyes. After taking the agricultural engineering course at the University of the Azores and having held a Postgraduate degree in Oenology at the School of Biotechnology of the Catholic University, in Porto, he founded in 2006 the company Insula Vinus, dedicated to the commercialization of its Wines. The meeting with António Maçanita (winemaker in several national projects) and Filipe Rocha (former Director of the School of Tourist and Hotel Formation of the Azores) took place later, in several wine events, where they were cementing views and a strong Friendship.

The inevitable would eventually happen in 2014, with the birth of The Azores Wine Company. Currently, they have 33 hectares of vineyard in São Mateus, 45 hectares in The Bay of Canas (both leased) and 52 hectares of own vineyard in the Poço Velho area, on the north coast of the island, near Cais do Mourato, where the first stone of the new Azores Wine Company winery, which will have to be ready for this year's vintage (so far the wines have been vinified in the winery of Insula, the company of Paulo Machado).

In addition to the winery itself, the project designed by the SAMI office (by Portuguese architects Miguel Vieira and Inês Vieira da Silva) together with english architectduo Daniel Rosbottom & David Howard, includes a tasting room, a room for events, a restaurant and five apartments (4 T0 and 1 T1).  However, those who want to visit Pico do not need to wait so long, since Insula already has 4 apartments (2 T= and 2 T1) and a tasting room with kitchen built in the middle of the vineyards of São Mateus, Azores Wine Company ,which already support the company's wine tourism.  With the construction of the new apartments, the bet will always be a type of 'taylor made' winetourism, that is, tailored to each client.