When I first got to AdegaMãe the first stone was yet to be laid. A farmhouse and a vineyard were already in place but the bulk of the production and wine tourism project was still to be found on the drawing board of the architect duo Pedro Mateus and David Baptista. The Alves family, spearheaded by Bernardo Alves — who toured some of the most renowned wineries in the world —, and the winemakers provided them with a set of inputs. The winemakers were, once more, Anselmo Mendes and myself.
I was to be named AdegaMãe’s winemaker and Anselmo Mendes would work as a consultant. That was how we first got involved with AdegaMãe, a project that was launched by the family running the #1 codfish company in the country: Riberalves. I believe this to be one of the finest examples of recent investment in Portuguese winemaking.
From the get go, every single detail was taken into account. We set the clear goal of optimizing production and keep it in line with the wine tourism branch of activity. Neither of these aspects was to undermine the other. In hindsight, it seems clear that we managed to come up with a winery that is both an excellent production facility and an architectural feat. AdegaMãe is a frequent presence among lists featuring the top wine venues in the country.
The first AdegaMãe wine was produced in 2010. This project is closely related with its home region — the roots of the founding family behind Riberalves are to be found in the Torres Vedras municipality — and I believe that the identity of this project revolves around strong notions of authenticity and locality. It sets out to promote the Western Portugal, and the Lisboa Wine Region, by channeling the region’s most idiosyncratic aspects.
This is a path Anselmo always inspired me to follow: to find wines that are true expressions of the places they were conceived in. The first steps included choosing the best national and international grape varieties, measure their adaptability to the terroir and let each evolve and express the minerality of these soils and that Atlantic influence that is so unique and particular to the AdegaMãe, vineyards, planted a mere 7 km from the ocean. The wine range evolved throughout the years, but the balance and freshness of its wines remains unchanged. It was indeed this Atlantic freshness that inspired our signature: AdegaMãe, Atlantic Wines.
AdegaMãe is a relatively new project, but the strength of the team behind it allowed us to put forward a work program that eventually led the company to win the Company of the Year award, as well as several others. Among them, an Excellence prize for our high-end wine, the 2013 AdegaMãe Terroir, the first time an Excellence Award was given to a white wine from the Lisboa region.
PS: AdegaMãe (which roughly translates as MotherWinery) is both a tribute by the men in the Alves family to their matriarch, dona Manuela, and a reference to the winery as a place of creation.
PS1: Its main brand — Dory wines — is inspired by the small “dory” boats that Portuguese fishermen used when fishing for cod.