Are small wine producers sexier?

Often when we are choosing a wine or thinking about doing a wine tour we ask ourselves if it is common sense to choose a wine or winery that is not part of the mainstream, or on the contrary to choose names known in the market for their size and marketing ability. On what do you base your choice?

The Best Portugal over these 10 years of the project´s life has always preferred the option small producers or to make a combination of the two when the customer experiences that desire. And why? Well, although even the big wine producers have wines with varieties unknown to our visitors (and this is not difficult for a country that has more than 300 native varieties) the small producers tend to bet on these same varieties. Often we even find in them this curiosity and even thirst to take advantage of varieties that were in danger of extinction and that have always been part of the cultural and physical heritage of their properties. In most cases, they are the ones who cherish, plant, disseminate, and export them. As an example we can give the case of Manz Wines, which in the outskirts of Lisbon saved a native white grape variety; the Jampal from extinction, being today the great ambassador of this small family company. Therefore, and in the opinion of The Best Portugal, the risk is here more incorporated in the brand and it is the small producers that often supply the market with novelties that after being confirmed by the market, will be the target of attention of the big companies of the sector.

What is new in Portugal in relation to other markets in the new world with more consolidated choices of grape varieties? The Portuguese market displays such a strong level of experimentalism at the level of small producers (predominant in Portugal) that there are always novelties, even at the level of large wineries, being launched into the market.

To all these challenges we can add another one that is very specific of this type of producers: the ever-present danger of the present or future generation not sharing this passion and the properties consequently end up in the hands of big companies of the sector, always eager to add to their portfolio properties and brands with history, innovative capacity and with grape varieties and wines that the wine professionals and connoisseurs simply admire and in some cases, love.

 

And then there is the intangible aspect of small properties whose owners and staff breathe passion for wine, for the land, and for nature. When our visitors realize that all this is a personal choice and a way of life they end up feeling that each sip of wine is different from the ones they have ever tasted and that alone is very comforting and rewarding for all who witness these visits.

These small producers will continue in Portugal to be a vital link between the past and the future. They have the boldness and courage to make new wines, with new grape varieties, new winemaking methods, and above all, they like their grapes to do the work for them. The wines come from their terroirs and this is where this word in our opinion takes on an integral meaning: climate, land, and people of that place. The biggest difficulty, since they are so specific and filled with identity, is the difficulty of these players to enter a market that still today privileges first impressions, well-known grape varieties, and marketing related to brands. In the case of small producers out of the box, we are the ones who have to go searching, to do our research, besides having to have that passion for wine and nature in general. This is, in short, The Best Portugal’s noble mission to its clients and friends.

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