We were honored to have Mr. Pedro Campos with us for an exclusive interview. As a visionary winemaker from Quinta Da Raza in Vinho Verde, Portugal, Pedro seamlessly blends tradition with innovation, creating wines that reflect the unique terroir and heritage of the Vinho Verde region. Let's dive into Pedro's winemaking journey!
Full Interview Transcript (Interview with Winemaker, Pedro Campos, at Fino Vino HK on Nov 15, 2023
Pedro, how did the first chapter of your winemaking story open in Quinta da Raza?
I started in Quinta Da Raza in 2001 when I finished university. I've been in the wine industry since I was a little boy, and when I finished university, I had the opportunity to work in a wonderful place like Quinta da Raza with a senior winemaker that was able to talk to me a lot about wine and a lot about Vinho Verde that we can produce with the grape varieties that we have in the estate.
As a winemaker, what is a typical workday like in winemaking?
Oh, it's a good day; we start early, there's no traffic to work, so we start with a happy face when I get to the winery. We can see what we are going to do that day, taste some wines, do some analysis. And in the harvest time, it's more demanding; we work around 18 hours a day, and we have to pick grapes and transform them into wine. We have one month of the year, in September – more or less, to do that, and it's more a little bit more demanding, but aside from that, working in Quinta da Raza is a lot of fun.
As Quinta da Raza is a historical winery, how do you balance Traditional techniques and Modern technology in winemaking?
Quinta da Raza is a very old estate, in the family for many centuries; the actual owner is the 5th generation of producers. Tradition is essential to us, but if we have new modern techniques that allow us to maintain the quality of those traditional methods or to improve the quality of those traditional methods, we can use it. Tradition, like local grape varieties, stone tanks, and local people harvesting the grapes, can be improved with some new methods that we have now at our disposal.
Let's look into some of the wines that you made. First category is Raza. There's Raza White and also Raza Rosé here. Could you introduce these two wines to us?
Those are the two most traditional wines in the Vinho Verde region with the traditional style. They are a blend of several grapes in the estate. The Raza White has white grape varieties like Arinto, Azal, and Trajadura, with a lot of citrus notes and green apple notes. The Raza Rosé has Padeiro, Espadeiro, and Vinhão grapes, with a lot of strawberry notes in the flavor. They both have a relatively low alcohol, only 11.5%, and they represent the freshness of the Vinho Verde Region.
Let's shift our attention to the natural wines that are becoming popular. There's been a new product category from Quinta da Raza in recent years – PET NAT wines. Could you introduce how PET NAT wines are made?
We have now a range of wines with low intervention, so the winemaker only decides when to harvest and when to bottle. One of those wines is our PET-NAT White, fermented in stainless steel tanks for a while, and when the fermentation is almost over, we put the wine inside the bottle, and the fermentation ends inside the bottle, trapping that natural CO2. It's a low intervention; wild yeasts ferment the wine, so it's a more natural approach to winemaking. We also have Orange-Nat, a wine produced with white grapes that ferment in stone "lagares" (stone tanks), in contact with the skins and the seeds, gaining a little bit more color and structure. Red (Tinto-NAT), also low intervention, is produced in stone tanks and ferments with the skins and the seeds, cleaning itself and put inside the bottle. It's a very natural approach to wine, low intervention, letting nature dictate what happens.
Pedro, is there anything else you want to say?
I would like to thank all the wine lovers in Hong Kong that are drinking or will be willing to taste Quinta da Raza. Thank you in this wonderful city; there's a lot of good gastronomy that goes with our wines. Thank you very much, and I hope you can taste a little bit of Portugal in each bottle. Obrigado!