Women In Wine Fridays: An Interview with Justina Teixeira from Quinta da Barca in the Douro Valley

justina-teixeira

This week’s Friday post is in the Women in Wine Fridays series. I meet a lot of wonderful women in the wine industry during my travels and I also seek them out at whatever trade tasting I attend when in New York. I have done this series over the years with a variety of women. Usually I pick someone because I either love the wine, something about them appeals to me, the property is beautiful or some other feeling of connection. I met Justina Teixeira just once at her amazing winery this past September during a press trip. I immediately took a liking to her, even before I tasted her wines. She seemed very down to earth and approachable. Someone I could imagine as a friend if I lived in the Douro. She was also very humble and somewhat shy which was appealing as well. She brought her daughter out to say hello at the end and that too, endeared her to me. Quinta da Barca is located at a stunning point along the Douro with incredible views and sun exposure for the grapes

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The vines were quite close to the river in what is called the Baixa Corgo. The river valley is split into three areas. Quinta da Barca make its first wine in 2005 with the label Busto.

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The busto or bust in question is of the Marquis of Pombal who first demarcated the Douro Valley in 1756 as the first region in the world of wine to have that designation as a demarcated area. All over the Douro people should us stones that the Marquis had planted to demarcate the area.

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Justine answered my questions via email. I will write about the wines at the end of the post.

How did you get into the wine business?

This is a business family. Through the last 10 years I was working not in this business. But, because it´s a family business and I thought that it could be a very interesting challenge and the products were having a good ranking and good feedback from consumers and professionals from this sector, I decided that it was the right time to start with this new challenge. And the work on sales began in January 2016.

What has been the hardest part of the wine business for you in terms of gender issues, if any?

Until now I didn´t feel any difficulties. What I notice is the surprise from customers, competition, distributors because is not usual to have a woman in this business particularly in sales. So sometimes what I feel is that the difficulty is in the other side: having to negotiate with a woman is something “strange”.

What trends and changes have you seen since you started? What do you see happening in the next 5-10 years in your sector of the business?

I really started some time ago, but my all experience tells me that we will start to see much more women in this business, especially in sales. Making wine, directly, at this moment we can see some women names getting notoriety and this will increase in the next 5-10 years. And this change needs to happen because we have a different sensibility and vision that is something very positive.

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What do you see happening in the Douro Valley area?

At this moment in Douro Valley are appearing many small/medium producers with their own wines. And in this region, we have something that is fascinating: wines with profiles that are completely different from each other even when the farms are very close, in the same location.
Another point is that wine tourism that is growing very fast. It´s another opportunity to increase the products to offer to the customers.

What do you think about the level of wine education on Douro Valley in general?

In this point, I think that we have a lot of work to do. In Douro Valley we start later with “table wines”, because the big companies were only focused in Port Wines. Other Portuguese regions started much earlier to promote their “tables wines”, like Alentejo, Vinhos Verdes, Dão… So this kind of work takes time, and the final consumer needs time and a lot of promotion and education from the producers.

Who is the average wine drinker today in Portugal?

We have different segments, but nowadays people between 30-50 years are the principal consumers that want different things and are starting to have a critical sense, in a positive way.

Where are women going to be in the industry in the next 10 years?

Slowly, I think that in the next 10 years women in industry (making wine directly) will be at the same level and number as men. In sales I think that will be a little more complicated because it´s necessary to change the “chip”. So in this case I think that we will see 15/20% of the sales being directed by women.

What do you think will happen with climate change in your area?

This is a delicate issue, because we depend a lot on the climate, and we know that the years have started to be more and more unstable and this can interfere with the production and quality, which is a big problem for us.

Where do you see your products in the US market? Restaurants? By the glass programs? Stores?

Restaurants and stores, particularly “gourmet” stores.

What do you like most about the business compared to your first career?

The dynamic of this business it´s completely different, the people and the fact of being a business family. It´s like a dream that we are looking for everyday!

Will your daughter be the future of the company?

I hope so! But who knows??

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Quinta da Barca makes whites, roses and reds. I liked all of the wines.

Busto Branco Moscatel Galego 2015

A lovely white wine with refreshing acidity, nice citrus flavors and zest. It would have been great with seafood.

Busto Colheita Branco 2015

A nice white made from a blend of Malvasia Fina, Viosinho, Arinto and Moscatel. Fresh and floral, I liked this wine which had perfume aromas and flavors. It too would work well as an aperitif or with light fare.

Busto Reserva Branco 2014

Made from Arinto, Viosinho, Rabigato and Malvasia Fina, this wine was lovely and one that I could drink a bottle of all on my own. Each of these indigenous varieties brought something to the party and the blend was elegant, full bodied and refreshing at the same time.

Busto Colheita rose 2015

Made from the typical port varieties, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca and Tinta Francisca.
It had both good acidity and moderate alcohol which was perfect. I could see drinking this with seafood, a light pasta, as an apertif or even with pizza.

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Busto Colheita Tinto 2013

Again a blend of the same port grapes as the Rose but this deep ruby red wine had a nice mouth feel, juicy tannins and good balance. It would have worked perfectly with the roasts and pork that we were served each day in Portugal

Busto Reserva Tinto Touriga Nacional 2011

This wine was the big powerhouse of the lineup. Most wineries in the Douro are making a monovarietal of Touriga Nacional. Touriga produces full bodied wines with good tannins and structure. Theirs ages for 6-9 months in oak.

Busto Touriga Nacional  Grande Escolha 2010

This was the top of the ling of their wines. I found it to be elegant and balanced which is what they are looking for. Again, Touriga is making its claim to fame is the signature variety for the Douro and for Portugal in general. I think Americans who like powerful wines will warm to these very easily. All of their wines were very polished and refined, like their owners. Justine’s husband is the winemaker.

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Filed under Douro Valley, Indigenous Grapes, Indigenous Varieties, Portugal, Women in Wine Fridays

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