Cabrita Wines: Essence and Simplicity

Cabrita Wines are produced on Quinta da Vinha, in the Algarve region, a property owned by the family for half a century. Last month we had the pleasure of visiting them.

The whole team spends its time producing amazing wines, whilst crafting intimate events for those who visit the property. Duarte Rito is the wine tourism manager and tells us everything about it.

Hello Duarte, thank you so much for having us today! What is our role here in Cabrita Wines?

My pleasure! I’m in charge of wine tourism, which involves creating and managing potential partnerships, sales in general, wine-tasting production, and more. Essentially, everything that isn’t connected to wine production. I belong to a multidisciplinary team, which includes winemakers and other professionals ensuring the winery and vineyards are in perfect condition. And of course, Mr. José Cabrita, the owner and the soul of the project.

So, how did it all start?

It all began with Mr. José Cabrita’s father. He had a smaller property and a passion for wine — but his production, back then, was somewhat more artisanal and mostly for family consumption. The company’s main activity was, and still is, fruit trade.

When Mr. Cabrita inherited the business, he decided he wanted to keep his grapes, which he considered already of great quality. Instead of sharing them with a local cooperative, as his father did before, he started producing his own wine.

A visit to Fita Preta (Alentejo) was critical in the decision on which way to go. Shortly after, Mr. Cabrita started working with those winemakers, for consultancy matters.

In 2007, Cabrita Wines was officially born, along with its first wine. Since then, our plantation has expanded both in space and grape variety, always respecting what the region has to offer and the soil’s quality.

We work exclusively with Portuguese grapes. Five varieties of white (Arinto, Verdelho, Gouveio, Moscatel Galego, and Encruzado) and five varieties of red (Touriga Nacional, Negra Mole, Trincadeira, Aragonez, and Tinta Miúda). Negra Mole is very special because it is a local variety and the second oldest in the country. Here we produce 12 different wines.

In 2015, we built our winery: it includes a barrel room, a tasting room, and a shop. And now we are in the process of finishing a Mediterranean Garden, where we plan to host gastronomic and creative events, along with concerts and what creativity brings to the table. We also have a Wine Club.

Working with local partners and producers is very important to us, and it has always been a priority in the company.

How would you describe Cabrita Wines’ legacy?

I think our wines mirror Mr. Cabrita’s personality quite well.

He’s a simple and kind man, down-to-earth kind of person. Our wines reflect both this simplicity and the identity of a traditional Portuguese wine — especially made in the Algarve region. These wines are light and fresh, which pair well with our traditional dishes, but can also be enjoyed on their own.

They reflect the essence of the Algarve landscape: the quality of its soils, and its long hours of sunshine. It usually ends in fruity wines, with floral notes, very fresh with some salinity.

What you have in the land, is what you’ll find in the glass. Essence and authenticity.

You recently modernized the brand. How has it been?

Lots of fun, to say the least. Our previous labels were released many years ago, and we knew that a good dose of change could be a competitive advantage because it would make us stand out in the wine market.

Portuguese wines are mostly consumed in Portugal, and being a static brand sends consumers the wrong message, or no message at all. In that case, people stop buying because there will always be something new and exciting that they’ll want to try.

We ended up changing our entire visual identity, to a more modern and fresh approach, which represents us better. From time to time we develop also some special editions, in which we invite an illustrator to produce the label for a new wine — such as our orange wine, for example.

So, what new wines have emerged since then?

The orange wine — a white wine made in the same way as a red wine, where the grape skin remains in contact with the liquid, instead of being removed. It gives us notes of apricot, persimmon, honey, and dried fruits. You can pair it with white meats, octopus, and cuttlefish.

In December 2022, we launched three other references, simultaneously: Fortified Moscatel, Sparkling Blanc de Noir, and Sparkling Rosé (both made through the traditional method and from Negra Mole grapes). These last two have a very soft bubble that melts in your mouth. And the White Sparkling had the honor to win a Gold Medal in 2023, in Brussels!

We only launch new wines when we are sure they’re at their best version…

Previously you mentioned something about events. How does it work?

You can find our agenda on our website or social media channels, along with our contacts. For those who like to stay updated, feel free to subscribe to our monthly newsletter. Apart from the events you can participate in our wine tastings, which happen from Monday to Friday, and include a tour of the vineyard — ideally designed for groups of 8 to 15 people.

What does the future hold for Cabrita Wines?

We want to improve and develop even more our wine tourism and create something truly exciting for those who visit us. Create new limited editions, never compromising on the quality and our identity, of course. Reducing water waste, which is significant in this sector, is also an important goal.

Thank you very much, Duarte, I can’t wait to come to one of your events!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *