Highlights

The head office houses all the cross enterprise services, including the Board of Directors, Management and Communication. This is where Dirk Niepoort brings home ground-breaking ideas and plans, when returning from the many tastings and business trips. Elisabete Oliveira, in the company since 1973, worked with 3 Niepoort generations (Edu, Rolf and Dirk). Alexandra, Cláudia, Nininha and Vítor work in the Administrative and Financial Department. Elisabete is responsible for the daily administrative tasks. October 2005 brings big changes: José Teles joins the Niepoort team as Managing Director and Verena Niepoort as Director. The complementary experience of both José Teles (since 1988 in the port wine sector) and Verena Niepoort (project management and information technologies since 1991) are valuable to enhance structure and processes, keeping up the good teamwork and mainting flexibility, uniqueness and the healthy balance of secular tradition versus innovation.

In June 2009, Carvalho Ferreira joins the commercial department and Niepoort enters a new phase, taking up the national distribution of its wines. In November, with the entry of Susana Ferraz, Niepoort becomes the representative of François Frères barrels in Portugal. The young Paulo Silva, whose great passion is wine, joins the commercial area in February 2013.

The storage, blending, ageing, bottling, labelling and shipping of port takes place at the Vila Nova de Gaia cellars. Surrounded by many other port cellars, the Rua de Serpa Pinto warehouse is the magical space where the old Niepoort wines rest in very ancient barrels, casks, demijohns, bottles. It was precisely here that all the work of Niepoort was undertaken until March 2007. Since then, for space and logistics reasons, the head office and main warehouse of Niepoort moved to Rua Cândido dos Reis, allowing both growth and process improvements.

Around 15 people work at the Cândido dos Reis cellars. The Master Blender José Nogueira began to accompany his father (also José Nogueira) when aged 14 years. His son, José Rodrigo Nogueira, joined the team beside his father in 2006, and is today responsible for Production. The members of the Nogueira family have been Master Blenders and good companions of the Niepoort family since the Company's founding in 1842. Now we are at the fifth generation of each family, working side by side.

In 2003, Nicholas Delaforce joined the Winemakers team, which coordinates the grape harvest and vinification of the port in the Douro, as well as the Charme wine. The wines are made from grapes supplied not only by the vineyards of Quinta de Nápoles, Quinta do Carril and Quinta da Pisca, but also from numerous independent farmers who have worked with Niepoort for many years. Nicholas Delaforce comes from a port family and his experience in the sector, since 1992, was of great importance for the investment in a winemaking centre exclusively for port: the winery located at the Lagares Museum in Vale de Mendiz. The main place of work of Nick before and after the grape harvest is Vila Nova de Gaia.

Quinta de Nápoles was purchased by Niepoort in 1987. The Quinta includes nearly 30 ha of vineyard. The vines are at an altitude of 80-250m and the age varies between 26 and more than 80 years. Located at the left margin of the Têdo river, this is were Niepoort makes their red, white and rosé wines. Dona Maria José and Senhor Manuel have been living on the Estate since 1989. Maria José cooks for the team and for the many visitors. The vineyards, wines and all the operations of Niepoort in Douro are in the hands of Maria Gil in the laboratory, António Fonseca in the Winery, Gabriela Santos in the office and Carlos Raposo at the winery and vineyards.

QUINTA DO CARRIL, next to the Quinta de Nápoles estate, adds 9 hectares of vineyards to the production area and it was purchased by Niepoort in 1988. These old vines produce the grapes from which Batuta is made.

The old museum at Vale de Mendiz was purchased by Niepoort in 2003 and converted into a winery exclusively for port. The separation into two winemaking centres is intentional, as it allows dedicated and optimized processes for ports and Douro wines.

Andreas Burghardt started the design process of the winery in 2000 on a different site, a hill adjacent to the current location of the building. As Niepoort underwent a very dynamic development since the turn of the century the planning process lasted until 2007. The production areas building were then erected in a very short time from February to August 2007. The tasting room and guest area was finished in 2008.

The main issue for the architect was to find a sensitive way to set the huge building in the landscape. The first idea was to make an invisible building. The winery is situated on top of a hill, overlooking the river and offers a fantastic view to the valley. To embed the winery in the landscape, the main parts of the building are situated underground and the exterior walls were covered with natural stone (slate) which is the traditional local material for the retaining walls of the terraces. The concept is very minimalistic: as few materials as possible, as few details as possible. The whole building - all walls, floors and ceilings - is built in architectural concrete. Metal parts are made in Corten steel.

The Quinta de Nápoles estate produces the unfortified wines of Niepoort. According to the production process of the wine, the grape reception is on top of the building in order to avoid any pumping of the wine. Below is the press area and the barrique stores are on the bottom of the building. All floors are connected with an elevator. The building has low energy standard, which is necessary as all storage rooms have to be cooled down to 15ºC for all the year. The tasting room opens to a huge patio and has a cantilevered steel terrace overlooking the river.

The existing old house was transformed to an office building by eliminating all walls and floors and creating a huge loft, connected to the cellar by a tunnel.

We want to learn more about the borders of our country with Quinta de Baixo. Bairrada has always been a difficult region, but we believe it has the potential to be the birthplace of elegant and fine wines, full of character and personality.

The cool and humid climate of the Bairrada zone, influenced by the Atlantic, yields high-acidity grapes with a low alcohol content. The soils are sandy or clay and limestone and the white grape varieties such as Maria Gomes, Arinto, Bical and Cercial have amazing potential. The red grape varieties are dominated by Baga, on which most of the wines of this region are primarily based.

Dirk's passion for Bairrada and Baga dates back to the nineties, when not only did he make wines at Casa de Saima and Bageiras, but also distributed wines from Casa Dores Simões and Gonçalves Faria.

We didn’t look for the traditional Bairrada, we were aiming something else: to interpret the fantastic limestone soils and the traditional grape varieties, in our own special way, such as with the irreverent Baga.

In 2010, under the pretext of an experience with Filipa Pato to produce a fortified wine, and on which Dirk became enthusiastically involved, it was necessary to explore the potential of the vineyards of Bairrada. It was love at first sight. Not only was the referred fortified wine made but also a red Baga wine, such was the passion. The result encouraged us and in 2011 we made about 2.000 litres at Quinta de Baixo, with the kind permission of Jorge and Sérgio.

There was no turning back, and from January 2012 Niepoort took control of the vineyards and winery, in a partnership with Jorge and Sérgio.

The idea was to get to know better the personality of Bairrada because we fully believe in the potential of this region. Niepoort ended up purchasing Quinta de Baixo on the 28th December 2012.

It was a big challenge, but a great motivation to create something special, something typical from Bairrada but with the NIEPOORT soul.

Last century, the Dão region was regarded as the most prestigious in Portugal. However, in recent decades, various factors, among which cooperativism, have “democratised” the region and trivialised the excellence and quality of the past.

The Dão also suffered with the Touriga Nacional “fashion” which in recent years made almost all wines focus on this grape variety, although it has not played a very important role in the great wines of the past.

Unfortunately and unlike the Douro and Bairrada regions, old vines are almost non-existent. There are still a few small vineyard plots here and there, but the trend is for them to disappear altogether.

Therefore, the acquisition of Quinta da Lomba was based on a sense of obligation to save five hectares of vineyards over 60 years old. With a fantastic location, the vineyards and winery are situated at the entrance of the city of Gouveia, in the foothills of Serra da Estrela. With this acquisition we have everything we need and the enormous challenge to make great wines, full of character and personality.

In 2012 and 2013, grapes from vines over 55 years old were bought from small farmers and were vinified at Quinta da Pellada which belongs to our friend Álvaro de Castro. The wines were then aged in old barrels at Quinta de Baixo.

In 2014, after some refurbishment work, we will begin making wine at Quinta da Lomba, in the property's own winery, with both with purchased grapes and those from Quinta da Lomba.

It is fascinating being able to work with such different terroirs such as Bairrada (limestone), Dão (granite) and Douro (schist).

We wish to learn more about the different terroirs and understand them in detail to create wines with personality.

Dirk Niepoort
July 2014

It was inevitable to reach the Vinho Verde. A region that has a huge potential to make niche wines and great quality thanks to its excellent geographical location and its climatic conditions.

In Minho region there is the largest river basin in Portugal and numerous green areas, the Peneda-Gerês is the only existing National Park in Portugal. If for 25 years, we have been exploring various regions to create ever more elegant fine wines, with good levels of acidity, in Minho region, with the strong mineral component of granitic soils and the high levels of precipitation, located in an Atlantic climate, we have all the conditions to create amazing wines.

The winery is situated in the sub-region of Basto, with 3 ha of planted vineyards, where predominate the Avesso, Azal and Arinto varieties. In the Sousa sub-region we have about 1.5 hectares of Alvarinho and Avesso. We are producing mostly white wines, and recovering old vines of red varieties, since we want to maintain the regional tradition of producing Red Vinho Verde, with the 2nd fermentation taking place in bottle.

In 2016 debuted the wines from the 2015 harvest. Teppo Fish, Wanabi and Olo are 3 white wines to discover and fall in love with!

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