Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Ferreira, one of the leading Portuguese port shippers, established in 1751. Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira, the grande dame of the douro Valley, was perhaps one of the most dedicated personalities in the port industry in the latter half of the 19th century. Born in 1811 in Régua, Dona Antónia devoted her life to the Douro, ruling her vast estates as a benevolent dictator. She invested much of her considerable fortune in planting and improving her properties throughout this harsh terrain. The father of her first husband, António Bernardo Ferreira, founded one of the largest and most stately quintas in the Douro, the Quinta do Vesúvio, which the family owned until its sale in 1989 to the symingtons. Today Ferreira own three properties in the Douro: Quinta do Porto, Quinta do Caêdo near Pinhão, and Quinta da Leda high up in the Douro, as well as buying in wine from other properties owned by the family. Quinta do Seixo, bought by Ferreira in 1979, has now been rebranded as a sandeman property. In the 1980s, the properties were the subject of considerable research and investment, with the company pioneering the vertical system of planting whereby vine rows are aligned uphill rather than along contours. Until 1987, Ferreira was owned by descendants of Dona Antónia, but the company now belongs to sogrape. Ferreira is the leading brand of port in Portugal and pioneered the production of high-quality dry red wines in the douro, of which their famous Barca Velha was the prototype in 1952.