Can you objectively evaluate a Wine Producer?

When we visit a wine producer our opinion about service, service infrastructure, and wines are shaped by intangible factors that unconsciously result in a final opinion about the producer. Do we know why we like some more than others? So let's try to go a little deeper in search of a satisfactory answer.

At The Best Portugal, we meet every year several types of agricultural producers. There are, however, and generically speaking, two types that cover the great majority of them: those who inherit the properties of their ancestors and those who have to fight to go after their dream of owning not only properties but also autonomous productive capacity.

The former are often heirs with money in their banks and more charming as they can show to all those who visit them the history of generations of producers as well as their often stunning facilities with their lush gardens planned to detail. The visits are often magnificent, filled with means to physically demonstrate what words express, using videos to explain the production process and the family history. They use means such as picnics in the vineyards, 4×4 tours, or even tailored harvest events.  There is a kind of calm and tranquillity that reigns and that seems to fill everyone with confidence and optimism.

On the other side, we have the second category, the producers who climb the ladder of success by hand, and sometimes when they reach it they are already in a situation of passing on their legacy to their children. Everything with them is done with risk. The risk of taking out loans from banks, the risk of not being sure about the possibility of giving quality time and money to the well-being of their families, the risk inherent to agricultural activity that depends only on mother nature to bear fruit, the risk of not being able to impose themselves on the market and assert themselves in internationally.

Anyway, these producers should be sensible and think three times before launching themselves into this adventure, don’t you think? Sometimes they do and it is not rare to find winemakers who try to counteract all these risks by adopting different strategies: being part-time consultants in 2 or 3 producers, not buying land but renting the respective productions to produce wines with their own brand.

However, this only happens when they already have gathered capital or reputation, which in most cases is only achieved much later. So we are in the domain of blood, sweat, and tears. You may ask, can you feel this in the wine? I will always say yes if I am with the winemaker listening to his life story. This is the main reason why wine involves passion and is a passionate product.

Whether the stories of passion derived from the family legacy of the producer or how he has been renewing the entire property and its production methods during the last decades or finally the stories of commitment and hard struggle for recognition by flourishing winemakers; all of them are always told with a passion and tenderness that is difficult to see nowadays. The connection to the land and nature also contributes to this.

But even so, those stories that involve tenacity and personal sacrifice far above average will never fail to make a more poignant impression on us and on the clients of The Best Portugal who feel equally affected and sensitized by the effort and voluntarism that these entrepreneurs reveal. Why is this? Universal and simple rule: we all appreciate uniquely those who struggle to reach their dreams. As Aisha Tyler once said, “nothing that is meaningful to us is easy to obtain”. Amen to that phrase.


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