Unearthing and mapping the unique heritage of Portuguese wine and its hidden gems

by Mar 5, 2021News0 comments

Dear reader,

If you’ve been following us or investing with Alti Wine Exchange for the past year, you may have realized how much enthusiastic we are about anything Portugal-related.

After all, Portuguese wine is a world of wonders that grew relatively unknown when compared to other top winemaking countries, and still has much to be explored.

That is also why we have launched and listed vintages and special editions of some of Portugal’s finest producers.

The thing about Portuguese wine…

Even though one can immediately think of fortifieds such as Port, Madeira or Moscatel, or maybe the Douro reds or the cheap and delicious Vinho verde, Portuguese wine is still far too overlooked. Especially when compared to other European countries, such as neighbouring Spain.

It is actually much more than that. It carries a rich history, with unique traits and traditions that should inspire winemakers from all over the world to inspire and refine their crafting.

Thankfully, notable oenologists and also companies whom we’ve collaborated with – such as José Maria da Fonseca and Quinta do Vallado – work tirelessly to promote Portuguese wine. The goal is to give it a due place where it deserves: the top spots.

New work on the way

Out of the latest among these noble efforts comes a crowdfunded book. Claiming a shortage of worldwide-reaching works that explore the many depths of Portuguese wine, authors Simon J Woolf & Ryan Opaz make a visual and narrative dive into it in Foot Trodden – Portugal & the wines that time forgot, to be launched independently thanks to a Kickstarter campaign.

foot trodden woolf opaz cover.jpg


Woolf (an Amsterdam-based and Portuguese-enthusiast journalist and writer) and Opaz (a Porto-based long-time expert in Portuguese food and wine) had also kickstarted Amber Revolution – How the world learned to love orange wine. Now they have been “obsessively researching Portugal’s artisan wine traditions for three years”, they explain in their recently launched campaign page.

“Along the way, we’ve learnt a huge amount from listening to people’s stories, tasting their wines and walking their vineyards.”

The authors say they are digging deep into “unearthed ancient traditions and winemaking methods (like foot treading) that look like they came from the last century” — as well as the work of younger winemakers “who are taking this rich heritage and making it uniquely their own”. All of that comes with loads of photographs taken by Opaz.

Despite the limitations imposed by the pandemic, they plan to include stories on lesser known winemaking regions, which nevertheless produce world-class wines, like Bairrada and the island of Madeira – and a podcast too.

As the campaign enters its final stage (as of March 5th, with less than two weeks to go), more than 400 backers had already pledged around four times the book’s crowdfunding goal.

They expect to have it launched by September.



Good luck to the authors! We’ll be sure to get ourselves a copy.

In the meantime, what we can suggest is: step up and grab yourself a bottle of any of our Portuguese daydream fine wines, either for investment or to sip what’s finest.

Age-worthiness and huge investment-grade potential are guaranteed.

Until next time!


Explore More from Our Blog

Would you bring your child to a winery?

DEAR READER, What a pleasure to be back! I admit it: these mailbags are now my favorite point of the week. Even during the contentious back-and-forth, I always enjoy opening my inbox to see words from you all. “Kind” ones, sometimes—but as you know from last week—I...

Our Sommeliers suggested wine

DEAR READER, I must be honest—I expected many more well wishes after posting that old journal entry. Everyone is modest when they say they don’t want well wishes, and so I expected there would be a few of you who saw through my “plea for privacy”. But, I forgive and I...

Because Life Needs Good and Evil

Black and white. Chaos and order. Sinner. Sinless. Life is a constant search for the happy medium, the yin and the yang. It’s as renowned psychologist Jordan B. Peterson explains, “Order is not enough. You can’t just be stable, and secure, and unchanging, because...

Thank you, Lehman Brothers?

On this day, 13 years ago, the world broke out in a panic when Lehman Brothers filed for Ch. 11 bankruptcy. Still the largest bankruptcy filing in US history, it was the climax of the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Subprime mortgages were to blame, lending money to...

Beer vs Wine, a timeless debate…

DEAR READER, Blah blah blah let’s get right to it! Dear Sommelier Ferdinand, You’ve dropped some hints that you look down on beer. Why is this, Sommelier Ferdinand? You have a growing fanbase—surely, you’re aware the effect that your insults have? And before you...

What would you do if you found an expensive wine in a cellar?

DEAR READER, Never in my life have I been happier to pontificate about wine than at my computer desk. In person is stimulating, sure, but they always talk back at some point. My lovely readers, however, only speak when I like! This internet thing has utility!...

The Beginning and The End.

Alas, the sun has crossed the celestial equator from north to south. Summer is now quite uneasy, shifting into fall in the north, while life is springing into action down south. What a beautiful time of the year! When grapes are cut from the vine to create new wine,...

Ever heard of a wine cocktail?

DEAR READER, I hope some of you learned from the reader letter last week [hyperlink to Week Ten post] and checked your attics! You never know how much wine sits above you, waiting to be uncorked and decanted—on someone else’s dime! Dear Sommelier Ferdinand, I have a...

The Future of Wine

We humans are bold if nothing else. Unlike any other species (that we know of), only we have chosen time and again to go boldly where no other has gone before. This holds especially true to the modern European, the first to really “discover” ignorance. Though they...

Could Mozart Make Your Wine More Complex?

We usually do three things when drinking wine: look at it, smell it and taste it. We activate three of our five senses to understand what’s going on in the glass. I propose we go further by incorporating sound and touch. Surely what we’re listening to while...

What on earth is a ‘Wine Decanter’?

DEAR READER, It’s come to my attention that many of you are ill-informed, misinformed, and frankly, uninformed about how wine is to be consumed. Were I only a wine enthusiast, it would be wholly dispiriting. But—wine is my profession, and I’m obligated to recognize...

“What’s My Next Question?” – Benjamin Kaplan

What’s My Next Question? On a random day like today 11 years ago, a legendary Harvard Law professor and lawyer, Benjamin Kaplan, died at 99 years of age. A rich, marked life that left an impact long after his last breathe. Apart from influencing the likes of Ruth...