Interview - Armando Fontainhas
President of the Administrative Council of the Adega de Monção
The Cooperative Winery of Vinhos Verdes Region was founded at 11th October of 1958 and gathers all the producers from Monção and Melgaço. It is situated at the Delimited Region of Vinho Verde, at the sub-region of Monção and Melgaço.
Armando Fontainhas, economist and President of the Administrative Council of Adega de Monção, tell us more about the biggest winery corporation of portuguese Vinho Verde.
What were the biggest acquisitions of the winery in 2017, in what concerns innovation performance?
The year of 2017 was a pretty important year for the winery in terms of innovation investments. We have invested on a grid of 307 photovoltaic solar panels of 265W each for individual usage, which reflects an energy saving of 177.000 kWh and a decrease of €15,000 on the annual invoice.
Furthermore, we have invested in several production machines, in particular, an equipment that allow us to produce screw cap bottles- a new labelling machine which gives us more flexibility in terms of labelling sizes and allow us to use self-adhesive labels. For the product finish, it was purchased a machine for pallet assembly lines.
This year, we have begun the project Terr.@no, in partnership with University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, the Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo and the Cooperative Winery of Vinhos Verdes Region, and aims to do a characterization (both ecological and agricultural) of the sub-region of Monção and Melgaço.
As result of a three-year investigation with a technological partner, we’ve started the distribution of Alvarinho Deu-la Deu Terraços, the first commercial wine to be vinified with autochthonous yeasts from the sub-region, which were isolated over three harvests and subsequently used at the winemaking.
When you applied for the Support System of Vineyards Restructuring (VITIS), what where the expected winery activities and its future contribution to the quality of Vinho Verde?
The restructuring of the vineyards with the support of VITIS program has been a constant all over the years.
Every year, Adega de Monção submits a group application to its partners in a way to enhance the productivity of the vineyards and the grape quality.
I emphasise that last years the applications were the following:
Vitis Campaign 2016
* Producers: 110
* Applied Area: 44ha
* Expected value for money: 633.578,00€
Vitis Campaign 2017
* Producers: 106
* Applied Area: 52ha
* Expected value for money: 772.448,00€
Vitis Campaign 2018
* Producers: 95
* Applied Area: 33ha
* Expected value for money: 398.685,00€
These investments applied at the vineyards allow an improvement of the grapes, as well as our raw materials, and the finished product, which is the wine.
Tell us a bit more about the social responsibility of the winery and the circular economy that has been stablished at the region.
Adega de Monção is and always has been a key pillar to the social and economic structure of Monção and Melgaço region, not only for providing jobs, but also for its activity with local partners, as suppliers of the activity. Beyond that, the winery falls back on 1680 associates who provide the grapes, which are taken care throughout the year.
What is the national and international growth perspective of the Alvarinho Deu-la-Deu?
The brand Alvarinho Deu-la-Deu counts with more than 50 years of history, and being an icon of the variety Alvarinho, has a huge influence and responsibility on the market. It is our purpose to obtain the best product as possible, keeping the same quality standards up to the present. This way, we can increase customer loyalty, and more importantly, to maintain the existent ones. On the national market, the importance of the brand and the name Adega de Monção has and always will have a great part, on a national and international level. I would highlight that the winery exports nowadays for 32 countries, where the brand is increasingly gaining reputation.
At 2018, our target is the Russian and Chinese market, where we’ve already initiated our work at 2017 and the brand Deu-la-Deu will have its spotlight as one of the leading products.
How do you foresee the new transformation of the bottle Muralhas, held by Verallia Portugal?
Our market was asking for a few changes on the product range for some time, and we undoubtedly accepted Verallia’s challenge to conceive a new bottle for it.
We had a fantastic result, people love it and recognize the prestige and quality of the products that have always been the front image of Adega de Monção. With this new bottle we can give more emphasis to the engraving of the initials AM, bringing also to the market the innovation V.E.O (Verallia Easy Open) which allows an easy and safe bottle opening and enhances its image after taking out the capsule.
The new bottle will be used not only for Muralhas de Monção but for almost all the range of Adega de Monção wines.
Armando Fontainhas in confidence
Where would you see yourself working, if you haven’t been at the wine industry?
That is a hard question, I have an emotional connection to the territory and Monção, which is my land. If I weren’t at the Adega de Monção I’d be connected to grape production and also supporting local investment.
What is the best combination between cuisine and a wine from Adega de Monção?
For me, the perfect combination would be a Santola (crab) from Costa de Caminha/Viana, followed by Alvarinho Deu-la-Deu.
What is the sentence that inspires you the most in your business?
Step by step.