In the last few weeks, I’ve been reading through a special Decanter page called “Living The Dream“, where Richard Mayson, a writer from said magazine, presents his thoughts and impressions on a project that has been taking him away from wine writing. Back in 2004, he decided to start his own winemaking operation and bought an estate in the Alentejo, in Southern Portugal. Twenty hectares up in the mountains, called Quinta de Centro, which he decided to partly replant, as he went on to built a new winery and deal with everything that Portugal had in for him, from weather to bureaucracy and commercial practices.
It’s a fascinating read, pages and pages full by now, that you have to read from the bottom up if you want to read the story in order. You’ll find a bit of everything in there, from winemaking questions, of course, to the importance of the cafés in the portuguese business world to local authorities’… er… peculiar management schemes, environmental questions, fauna and flora, branding, exports, wine transportation, etc.
Going from a dream to the reality of vineyard ownership, winemaking and sales is quite a step, as Richard Mayson’s writings clearly show. But as you go through it, it does seem that, if you really, really want it, the pride and satisfaction felt are truly worth all the gigantic hassles.
Now, I seem to remember there were some nice old vineyards around Calce…