Just inside the reception area of the winery, AdegaMae, not far from the Centro de Portugal town of Torres Vedras, and within 45 minutes of the capital, Lisbon, there is a sign on the wall bearing the words penned by the American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘Men are what their mother’s made them.’ This spectacular and modern winery was opened in 2011 by the family run Riberalves Company and is dedicated to the memory of the founders’ mother. According to Diogo Lourenço, one of the best winery guides I’ve had the pleasure to meet, the winery is the owners’ way of saying ‘thank you’ to their mother who taught them so much.
As I toured this stylish, functional and modern production facility I couldn’t help but think that Diogo’s mother had also done a wonderful job; his tour was presented with charm, expertise and an insight and understanding of the goals the winery has set for itself.
Since its opening in 2011 the AdegaMae Winery has been voted Business of the Year in 2015; no small achievement, but having experienced the ethos and commitment to excellence displayed in the lavish winery, I can understand just why. The architecture of the main building seems to blend seamlessly into the surrounding rolling landscape, and it’s internal areas – visitor centre, dining and function rooms and modern tasting areas, invite the landscape and the vineyard inside through large display windows framing the whole scene.
Riberalves started life as a small cod fish company, through hard work and success the company has grown gigantically, now producing bacalhau of the highest standard for the national and international market. However, the ethos of a family run business still remains – which is evident in the care with which guests to the new winery are treated. With a full production capacity of 1.5 million bottles a year, the winery reached a total of 800,000 bottles in 2015 – four years after inception. Using 20 varietals of grape (and still experimenting with more) 18 types of wine are produced which are exported to over 30 countries around the world.
However, it is the signature ‘Dory’ label (both whites and reds) which hark back to the founders’ history and the humble beginnings in the bacalhau industry, thus framing this important connection. The label of each variety of wine within the ‘Dory’ range displays a silhouetted image of the famous Dory fishing boats used by the cod fishermen on their long voyages to the far off the coast of Canada and Newfoundland.
The winery is constantly exploring the depths of winemaking, experimenting with new varietals, new production techniques and is constantly monitoring the quality of the wines they produce in their state of the art laboratory. Nothing is left to chance at AdegaMae Winery. The winery is a firm favourite – and rightly so, being fully wheelchair accessible – with tourists, wine lovers and day-trippers from the nearby capital and beyond. AdegaMae Winery has raised the stakes in wine production in the region and have inspired others far beyond their physical reach.
This AdegaMae Winery post is a part of a series of 10 posts I wrote based on my journey to the Oeste Region in July 2016. Please find the links o the other articles bellow:
This AdegaMae Winery post was written by my inspiring friend Brendan Harding as part of my ongoing collaboration with the Centro de Portugal Tourism Board. All opinions are my own. Photo credits to Emanuele Siracusa.