One winemaker, one English Viticulture, a good idea, that’s what it took to found FitaPreta in 2004 by António Maçanita and David Booth. After working together for a couple of months, the two tried doing their first wine together, which ended up being a huge success in the Alentejo and promptly won the Trophy Alentejo Award by IWC, which was last given 22 years ago.
Non-conformist, disruptive, difficult, audacious, restless and hot-tempered, these are some of the unconventional adjectives used to describe both António Maçanita, an oenologist and consultant, and the wines he produces. Now 40, Maçanita entered the world of wine in 2000 in the Azores, but it was only in 2004, at the age of 23, that he produced his first vintage. In these 15 years, he has revived abandoned grape varieties, such as Negra Mole in the Algarve and Terrantez do Pico in the Azores.Where others are dismissive, António sees a challenge. Take the example of Branco de Tintas, the first wine he bottled in Portugal and an Alentejan protest wine developed in 2008 when CVRA decided to allow the purchase of white grapes from outside the region. Another momentous creation was Branco de Talha, in 2010, also the first of its kind in Portugal, which revived a Roman winemaking tradition and produced a subsequent renaissance. However, his revolutionary contribution is probably most visible in the Azores - Azorean grapes are today the most expensive in Portugal - where a battle is being waged today to legalise the use of aromatic vines, “beautiful vines, some over 150 years old”, as Maçanita, visibly proud and enthusiastic, describes them.
In 2018, António Maçanita won Revista dos Vinhos’ “Winemaker of the Year” award and Revista Grandes Es-colhas’ “Outstanding Contribution Award 2018”. But even his very first wine - PRETA 2004 - was a prize-winner, earning the “Trophy Alentejo” at the International Wine Challenge. In 2016, he also won the magazine Paixão do Vinho’s 10th-anniversary (2006-2016) “Generation 21 Oenologist Trophy”. In the same year, Revista Wine voted Azores Wine Company “Best New Producer”. In 2016, the Azores Wine Company and its three shareholders won the “Project of the Year” and “Entrepreneurs of the Year” awards by 100 Maiores Empresas dos Açores, a magazine produced by Açoriano Oriental – the oldest daily newspaper in Portugal. Two years later, the Revista de Vinhos voted Vinha Centenária, by the Azores Wine Company, one of the “Best Portuguese Wines 2018”. Every wine produced by António Maçanita, whether in the Alentejo, Douro or Azores, frequently wins over 90 points in Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, the world’s most important wine classification. António Maçanita produces wines in five different regions, has created three wholly-owned production projects, supports 12 producers through his consulting firm and puts, anually, 50 signature wines on the market.
... he was soldier, he was cavalry, he as infantry, he was wildlife protection, he was demining. He was in love, he was a dad, he was friendship. He was nature, he was early mornings, he was simple things, he was pure life. He was a vineyard man, and our gardener. But most of all he was our friend.
Born in England, army officer for seven years, reaching the rank of Captain in the Green Jackets, he then studied Agriculture and Management at the Royal Agricultural College Cirencester, did Mine-clearing in Mozambique and wildlife protection in Kenya.
Afterwards, he studied viticulture at UC Davis and became a disciple of Richard Smart in Portugal, where he introduced new trellising systems, and brought a profound knowledge in viticulture that enabled him to transmit complicated concepts in a very simple way.
He was a vineyard consultant to various wine producers such as: Lyma Mayer, Terras de Alter, Azamor, Vida Nova (Cliff Richards), Arrepiado Velho… to name just a few.
As guest speaker, he lectured the MBA course at his old school the Royal Agricultural College Cirencester. In 2004 he founded together with António the Fitapreta project, which he gave priority in a professional life already so full.
For us friends and companions of battle, we miss his constant and infectious smile, his eternal optimism, his will to help, his capacity to listen and his pleasure for the simple things in life: fresh air, nature, time with his children, time with people, pure life. With the certainty that we shall always honour and remember him. Working even harder, but with the same free spirit and freshness that he has always transmitted.
Partner since 2015. Sandra Studied in ISA university in the degree of Enology&Winemaking winning the award for the “best future winemaker of the year”, interned in José Maria da Fonseca winery, one of the biggest wine companies in Portugal, travelled to Chile to learn more in the prestigious “Vinas Casa Del Bosque”. Started her story with the group as a wine trainee in WineID consultancy in 2007 and after joined FITAPRETA in 2008.
Sales, manager, back office, finances she has done it all, problems. If you want an unsolvable problem solved give it to Sandra. Today Sandra is back to winemaking, in the position Director of Production Fitapreta Winery managing a permanent team of 7. She is without a doubt the locomotive behind Fitapreta’s operation. With Sandra either you hope on board or you lose the train.
The production team in FITAPRETA Winery at Paço do Morgado de Oliveira, with António Maçanita, Sandra Sárria, André Herrera, Leonor Frazão and four other winemakers with experience both nacional and internacional. There are also an orders and warehouse management team, as well as a dedicated team to the daily maintenance and construction in the estate. Sandra Sárria, partner and winemaker, leads all the winery team, from production to management of the whole enterprise. Side by side with the winemakers, Alexandra Leroy Maçanita coordinates the winetourism and events team, with five people.
From the other side of the Tejo, at the lovely Tapada da Ajuda in Lisbon, our commercial team has the direct support from all the back-office team: logistics, financial, HR and design. Together with our management and commercial team, we have five other people directly connected to other group companies: Maçanita Vinhos, Azores Wine Company, Wine ID and L& Events & Tourism.