Born and raised on a wine and vineyard estate that many historians deem one of the longest established in the council of Alenquer and whose origins stretch back prior to the founding of the nation of Portugal – the Quinta de Porto Franco. It is from the excellence of this estate that José Neiva Correia, born in 1949 and one of the most productive winemakers in the country, sources much of the raw material put into producing the very best DFJ Vinhos wines. This was the company he launched over a decade ago and that has now reached an average annual production level of six million bottles, across 40 brands and 110 different wines deriving from all mainland Portuguese regions, from the Douro down to the Algarve, except the Vinhos Verdes region.
The Wine Cathedral
Located in Vila Chã de Ourique – Cartaxo, 80 km north of the city of Lisbon, it is a unique centennial property. Most of the buildings belong to the so-called “Cast-iron architecture” used in the second half of the 19th century by followers of Eiffel. All of the facilities were designed by engineers at Eiffel’s atelier, who were then in Portugal designing public works, such as the Santa Justa lift in Lisbon and the D. Luís bridge in Porto. The owner of the Quinta at the time (António Francisco Ribeiro Ferreira) took advantage of the presence of these engineers and commissioned the plans of what would become the center of his agricultural activity. The first building came to be the cellar completed in 1897. The exterior architecture is also unique in Portugal because it is characteristic of the south of France and Balearic Islands that were certainly the origin of the engineers.
Also known as the Cathedral of Wine, Quinta da Fonte Bela is composed of several buildings, among them we find the headquarters of the DFJ where are the offices, a vinification center, a bottling line, warehouses, a cellar with capacity for 9.3 millions of liters, cooperage, laboratory and living room. All in a total of 17,197 m2 and a covered area of 8,063 m2.
Through The Years
Jose Nieva was trained in Dois Portos, Portugal; in Geisenheim, Germany and in Bordeaux, France. At the invitation of Octávio Pato, the top Portuguese oenologist of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, he started working 35 years ago.
José Neiva developed a method of disinfecting corks using ozone to prevent TCA. This method was patented and sold to Amorim Irmãos (the largest manufacturer of corks in the world).
When he started working with the Cooperative wineries, he was responsible for nearly 10% of Portuguese production in the ’80s and part of the ’90s.
In the ’80s José Neiva owned a laboratory capable of testing wine, water, earth, leaves, etc., which allowed him to widen his knowledge of wine and vines.
He continued as a consultant to 4 competing companies (50 million litres). He then introduced the Caladoc variety into Portugal (a cross of Grenache with Malbec). with constant updating on the development and improvement of varietal clones in Germany, France, Portugal, and California.
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