Fernando Nicolau de Almeida, and his contribuiton to the Douro Region
He was born in 1913 in the city of Porto. Fernando Moreira Pais Nicolau de Almeida was one of the most important Portuguese winemakers, and he showed the wine world that the Douro Region goes beyond Port Wine.
From his father, Fernando inherited his love for wines. He always took Fernando to help with the work in the tasting room at the Ferreirinha cellars.
In 1930, Fernando participated in his first harvest accompanied by Jorge Ferreira, administrator of Casa Ferreirinha, and it was only in the 40s that he began to venture into winemaking.
Fernando’s first experience as a winemaker was with red wines from the Vinho Verde Region that they exported to Brazil. But in 1949, under the influence of Émile Peynaud, Fernando began to dedicate his time to mature red wines.
Burgundy, Bordeaux, and Rioja were the main wine regions that Fernando visited to study and improve his knowledge of the fermentation techniques used in these regions.
In these regions, it used cooling system to preserve the aromas and freshness of the wines.
Fernando encountered the first problem, the vineyards in the Douro mostly did not have electricity, let alone temperature-controlled fermentation vats.
In 1952, Fernando Nicolau de Almeida launched the famous Barca Velha wine, one of the most important Portuguese wines, and that raised the wines of the Douro Region.
Only 18 harvests had the qualities expected by winemakers and became Barca Velha.
Fernando also marked his name in the history of Port wine, where he created high-quality vintages, created the Confraria of Port Wine, and collaborated with the Institution of Port Wine.
In 1998, Fernando Nicolau passed away, but his name will always be a reference for Portuguese wines.
Also read: History of Port Wine