Lessons from Vallado for Vindaba

Francisco Ferreira is the great-great-great-great-grandson of Dona Antonia Adelaide Ferreira, first lady of Port in the Victorian era, who memorably escaped drowning in the Douro by using her crinoline as a floatation device. We had dinner together tonight, along with wine writer and Swartland winemaker Anibal Coutinho (below) in Francisco’s new slate eight suite boutique hotel at his Vallado quinta on the banks of the Douro outside Regua.

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A former pig sty, it’s amazing what a €1.5 million investment, a shipload of slate from Brazil and a stellar architect (Francisco Viera do Campo from Porto ) can do. The attention to detail, like the welcoming plate of cherries in your room, is awesome. Last night we slept at Casa da Insua in Dao (below) which also had a colonial connection, having been paid for by gold mined in Brazil.

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SA producers considering an investment in an expensive biodegradable stand at the upcoming Vindaba wine tourism conference in September, would be better advised to take their R25K investment and fly to Portugal to see how the pros do wine tourism. Our berths for tonight are shown below.

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Meanwhile Francisco advises getting your wine in the Top Ten of the annual Wine Spectator Top 100 recommendations as he did last year. He’d sold 5000 bottles of his 2008 Touriga Nacional (not his best wine, by the way) in the USA in the first eleven months of last year. After the Wine Spectator spoke, he sold 30,000 bottles in December with floods of orders he can’t fill from Brazil. Let’s hope the WOSA invitations department remembers to invite the Speccie to Vindaba!