António giving a hug to his father Edmundo (1959)
Pinalta wines history started 100 years ago with the birth of its founder, Edmundo Alves Ferreira, in Mozelos, Portugal. Because the family was poor, at age 14, with only a 4th grade education, Edmundo left the country to find work. Arriving in Paris in 1921, he did anything to get money to eat. However, missing his family, and without funds, Edmundo soon decided to return to Portugal ... by foot! He actually walked over 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles), an incredible effort for anyone, but especially for a teenage boy.
António tasting a good port wine at the Quinta do Roncão
Upon his return, Edmundo started working with cork, one of the most noble natural products. In 1927, he founded E.A. Ferreira Cortiças in his hometown of Lourosa, located about 30 kilometres South of Oporto. (The company has continued to the present day in family hands.) Producing a large range of cork products and exporting world wide, the company thrived such that Edmundo was able to diversify by acquiring vineyards. Between 1945 and 1948, he was able to acquire the Quintas of Ventozelo, Macedos, and Roncão, highly respected vineyards in the Douro Region, and totalling about 800 hectares of grapes. (The earlier family vineyards were sold off by Edmundo’s heirs, but his son Antonio was wiser; he was already acquiring replacement vineyards in the Douro).
António enjoying the Douro view
The same year he had started the company, 1927, Edmundo took Olivia to be his wife, and together they raised 9 children. Antonio, born in 1935, showed a keen interest in his father’s business and while an Economics student at Porto University, starting working at his father’s side. In 1958, Antonio was sent to manage the Douro vineyards. Enchanted with the spectacular beauty of the Douro, he became passionate for the region and acquired for himself two more vineyards, Quintas da Covada and Quinta das Cecegas, totalling 48 hectares. Finally, in 1986 Antonio planted an entirely new 20 Ha vineyard at Quinta da Covada.
Fatima, Hugo's mother, in Quinta de Ventozelo
Farming grapes, however, did not prevent family formation, and Antonio married Maria in 1959; one of their three children, Maria de Fatima, still works at the cork factory while her siblings are employed elsewhere. Fátima married and in 1981, Hugo Ferreira Guimarães, great grandson of founder Edmundo, was born. Being the only grandson for 12 years of Antonio, Hugo also followed his grandfather’s footsteps, too. Because his great grandfather’s cork factory was near the school in Lourosa, Hugo spent many hours there and developed an interest in machinery. Despite graduating in Mechatronics Engineering in 2004, he felt his mother and grandfather needed his presence at the family cork business. After converting a Porto building into student housing, Hugo turned to the vineyards at Douro, about 120 kilometres to the east.
Filipe, Hugo's uncle, carring grapes in the harvest
With a total of 30 hectares (74 acres) of mature grapes, the family has access to abundant fruit; annually we produce about 50 metric tons of grapes. However, with the entire income of the traditional Port grapes barely covering its operating expenses, Hugo encouraged his grandfather to start producing their own Douro DOC Red Wine. Hence, Pinalta was born in 2004. The first step was to refurbish the old lagar (open-top stone fermenters) so wine could be produced, and then a 10,000 liter stainless steel tank had to be purchased. Starting without cash (a fine family tradition), Hugo sold his own car to his mother to get the project off the ground.
António, Hugo, Manuel (Hugo's father) and Fátima (Hugo´s mother) in 2001.
By owning, controlling, and farming a large number of vineyards for decades, the family winery can select the very best grapes for still wine production, and assure the same grapes will be available year after year. Our spicy, concentrated, and very smooth premium red wine is a blend of three traditional Port varietal grapes (cultivars): 60% Touriga Franca, 20% tinta roriz, and 20% Tinta Barroca, But instead of introducing brandy during the fermentation process to increase the alcohol, and therefore maintaining a high residual sugar level (both intrinsic steps to Port production), our unfiltered wine is fermented dry with a natural alcohol level of 13.5%. The result is an elegant dinner wine, especially for entrees of beef, pork, or more seasoned traditional ethnic meals. Enjoy!