Herdade das Barras
A leading winery in Portugal's Alentejo region producing top-of-the-line wines
In addition to wines from Herdade Paço do Conde, our second featured winery is the much smaller Herded Das Barras (Bars Estate) in the heart of the Alentejo Region of Vidigueira. The Herdade Das Barras is relatively young (purchased in 1999) and produces a smallish (by Portuguese and Alentejo standards) 35,000 cases each year.
The father and son duo of Joao and Pedro Duarte purchased the acreage under the name SAPOA (Sociedad Agropecuaria do Oeste Alentejano, Lda) and immediately planted a combination of five grape varietals, both red and white. The entire property comprises some 1,300 acres with around 25 acres devoted to vineyards (21 to reds and 4 to whites). Of note is the presence of a dam on the property that allows direct access to the larger Alqueva Dam and assures ample water for the vines.
A modern winery was completed along with an underground cellar that houses the company’s French and American oak barrels. As in other Portuguese endeavors, you will find cattle, lumber (pine) and cork growing that provide additional usages for the Herdade Das Barras operation.
Portugal: Fun Facts!
• Lisbon, Portugal is older than Rome, and among the oldest cities in Europe.
• Portugal’s most famous export and its national drink is Port - a fortified wine made by adding grape spirit, or brandy, to the wine before fermentation ends, making it sweet and very alcoholic at around 20 percent.
• Portugal is the largest cork producer in the world, supplying 70% of the world’s cork exports.
• Portugal has more indigenous grape varieties than any other country - more than 200 in fact!
• Portugal is a world leader in renewable energy. In 2014, around 70% of its energy came from renewable sources such as wind, hydro, and solar power. The region of Alentejo is home to the world’s largest solar energy plant.
• Portugal is one of the world’s top surf spots, with a coastline spanning 497 miles and 364 days of surf per year.
• Half of the “New World” once belonged to Portugal. In 1494, the Treaty of Tordesillas was signed, which essentially gave Portugal the eastern half of the “New World,” including Brazil, Africa, and Asia. The Portuguese empire was actually the first global empire in history and one of the longest-lived colonial powers, lasting for almost six centuries.
• The Portuguese eat more fish and shellfish per head of population than any other European nation.
Wine Regions of Portugal
The country of Portugal occupies a long, narrow strip down the western seaboard of the Iberian Peninsula, bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south and the country of Spain to the north and east. Portugal’s physical environment various enormously, with colder, mountainous regions in the north, dunes and pine forests in the central region, and warmer, gently rolling hillsides and plains in the south.
There are several distinct geographic regions within Portugal, and thus a wide range of wine grape growing possibilities. Interestingly, Portugal has more indigenous wine grape varietals than any other country, which has lead to an abundance of incredibly unique wine styles that can’t be found anywhere else.
Filipe Sevinate Pinto - Winemaker
The son of a former Portuguese Minister of Agriculture, Filipe Pinto has quickly joined the ranks of top Portuguese winemakers. A graduate of the prestigious Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Pinto holds a degree as an agricultural engineer majoring in enology.
Twice in the recent past, Pinto has been nominated for Best Young Winemaker by the noted Portuguese magazine W (sister to the US’s W magazine) and has garnered numerous awards and accolades for his wines. He also serves as a consulting winemaker to other Portuguese wineries in several additional regions including Duero, Setubal and Tejo.
Pinto is considered a leader of the young winemaking legion that has vaulted Portugal into world-class status in a relatively short time.