A look back at Port Wine Day
The secular history that unites the Alto Douro with its wine-growing roots has its high point on 10th September 1756, when the first wine region in the world was established, demarcated and regulated, through the creation of the General Company of Agriculture of the Vineyards of the Upper Douro. This day is celebrated by the Port and Douro Wines Institute (IVDP) with “Port Wine day”. It is a tribute to Port, the demarcated Douro region, and to the producers and shippers. It is the recognition given to this region, declared as World Heritage by UNESCO in 2001, as a “living evolutionary cultural landscape”, aware of its cultural, social and economic identity.
Port Wine day has been a great success since the first edition in 2014. It is contagious fun and involves the community through different initiatives that extend to Port Cellars, bars, restaurants (with Port and Food pairing), wine dinners, a Sunset Party, conferences, tastings and a masterclass for national and international press. In 2019, occurred the first edition of the “Douro + Sustentável” (+ Sustainable Douro) prizes”, four awards given to Wine Tourism, Viticulture, Oenology and Revelation, that distinguish projects that stand out in the preservation of Douro’s territory and also have as goals the contribution to the promotion of the vitality of the region, the effort of the local Communities and the involvement of all in safeguarding this magnificent and unique landscape.
This year Port Wine day returned, but it was celebrated in a restrained manner due to the moment we are living, shaped by the pandemic outbreak.
So, on 10th September, a dinner was held at the Antiqvvm restaurant, in Porto, formally the Solar of Port for 38 years (1974-2012). During the dinner, the “Douro + Sustentável” prizes were attributed to the following projects:
OENOLOGY: Tiago Alves de Sousa
Graduating in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD), he was distinguished in 2003 with the “Engineer António de Almeida foundation” award, given to the best student at graduation. In January 2011 he completed a doctorate in Agronomic Sciences and Viticulture, at the University of Trás- os-Montes and Alto Douro, with the highest classification.
Tiago Alves de Sousa is one of the representatives of the 5th generation of Alves de Sousa. In addition to a very special sensitivity to the work of the vineyard and winery, Tiago managed, with depth and consistency, to focus on the small details that make all the difference, which results in national and international recognition of the quality and uniqueness of his wines. Examples of that are the wines from the Quinta da Gaivosa considered to be among the best in the Douro.
From the evaluation between the different planting systems used in the Douro, the “New Old Vineyards” model emerged, of which Tiago is one of the main mentors, combining
the best of the old Douro vineyards with a technically modern and sustainable viticulture to guarantee the identity of their wines and face climate challenges.
WINE TOURISM- Fladgate Partnership:
The WoW- World of Wine, inserted in the historic area of Vila Nova de Gaia, opened since July 31, is based on a concept of experiences focused on wine, with particular emphasis on one of the six museums: “The Wine experience” that intends to demystify the wine.
The “Wine School” will be another space that will provide courses for all levels of interest and knowledge. The nine catering units also reveal the main focus on wine. Besides, the quality of the existing offer, sharing the history and promoting the heritage, will certainly mark the panorama of wine tourism in the region, with unique advantages in cultural tourism.
VITICULTURE- Quinta do Castro
The PATGEN VINEYARDS Project, developed by “Quinta do Crasto” in partnership with the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD), aims to identify the totality of grape varieties that are part of the centennial vineyard called “Maria Teresa”, one of the most iconic and award-winning wines of the Douro Demarcated Region. This genetic traceability makes it possible to replicate the same grape varieties in the same territory, consequently contributing to the consistency of wines with greater added value.
It is an exemplary project, which reveals ambition in the preservation of biodiversity and a constant concern for sustainability.
REVELATION- Bulas Cruz
Bulas, it is the name of the family and a name that became a brand. By producing wines of exceptional quality, which capture the essence of the Douro in a sustainable way, Bulas Cruz is a family project that maintains tradition and preserves the culture and heritage of this extraordinary and unique wine region. The two family owned estates – “Quinta da Costa de Baixo and Quinta da Foz Ceira”- located at the confluence of the Ceira and Douro rivers, in an environment of excellence and great natural beauty. The “Quinta da Costa de Baixo” belongs to the family since the 2nd World War, acquired by José Bulas Cruz, a man of great prestige in the Douro and father of the current owner, José Afonso Bulas Cruz.
As a result of large investments, from the 1980s on, whether in the vineyard, in the facilities, winery and on the estate, it was necessary to create a structure capable of representing a new brand and repositioning itself in the market.
Here enters Isabel Vieira, responsible for the commercial side, and Joana Duarte, oenologist, responsible for the technical side.
Bulas, as a new brand, had to start from scratch and create new markets and customers abroad, which required great dedication and effort, with visible results through internationalization, with a presence in more than 10 markets, and the recognition of the specialized press.
Combining traditional techniques with the latest knowledge and innovations, the Bulas intends to guarantee a continuous increase in quality and future sustainability.