A Story in each wine. The story of Casa Ferreirinha is inextricably associated with one extraordinary woman. Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira was born in 1811 in the country town of Régua, the gateway to the winelands of the Douro Valley. Though small in stature and reserved by nature, Dona Antónia was a charismatic visionary with entrepreneurial drive. In 1845, she took over her family’s business, the first Portuguese family owned company in the Douro founded in 1751, at the age of 33. During her time running the company, Dona Antónia expanded her estates, created new expanses of terraced vineyards and improved the hard lives of the local farming families.
Dona Antónia was so well loved that the local people affectionately nicked named her ‘Ferreirinha’ – ‘the little Ferreira lady’. When ‘The Ferreirinha’ died in 1896, she left behind a portfolio of great Douro estates and an immensely successful business. Dona Antónia’s legacy and quest for excellence continues to be a fundamental pillar of the Casa Ferreirinha brand for more than 250 years.
In the 1950’s, Fernando Nicolau de Almeida, winemaker for Casa Ferreirinha set out to make the highest quality unfortified wines in the Douro. His aim was to produce elegant, top-quality wines with the ageing potential of Vintage Port. In 1952, Barca Velha was born, an iconic wine made only in the best years by taking the best grapes from the Douro Superior and combing them with grapes sourced at high altitudes.
Casa Ferreirinha has carried the torch for creative, quality winemaking in the Douro becoming the region’s most historic and iconic house. Casa Ferreirinha wines range today from easy-drinking Esteva and Planalto through the richer Papa Figos and Vinha Grande to the exceptional Quinta da Leda, Reserva Especial, and Barca Velha which remains one of Portugal’s most long-lived, elegant and complex wines.
When joining the wine-making team in 1989, Luís Sottomayor knew he joined the right company to make the finest wines of the Douro. Today, with his skills recognized and the quality of his work proven, he heads the Oenology team for all Sogrape Port Wine brands, a responsibility he assumed in January 2003.
Although Luís’s career trajectory has afforded him enriching experiences in several national and international wine-growing regions, his commitment to Douro and Port Wines earned him the 2010 Winemaker of the Year Award in the Fortified Wines category by Revista de Vinhos, one of the nation’s most prestigious wine publications. In 2012 he was nominated for the Winemaker of the Year accolade at the International Wine Challenge and was named Winemaker of the Year by Revista de Vinhos in 2012 and 2017.
Arguing that the secret of great wines rests on the passion of those who write their history in the vineyards and cellars, Luís likes to emphasize the effort made at Sogrape Vinhos to preserve and enhance their legacy by combining the values of tradition with emerging desires and trends for the future. An avowed soccer supporter, Luís Sottomayor devotes some of his leisure time to rugby, horse-riding and hunting.