The Howard’s Folly Wine project started some ten years ago, when David Baverstock met Howard Bilton.
After searching for a several years for a suitable winery and vineyard to buy, we gave up on this approach and decided to rent winery space in existing wineries. This in theory, was a good plan and we had successful relationships, but it was never an ideal setup. Even with a lot of mutual goodwill, there were inevitably a fall out over vintage fermentation space, choice of tanks, space for barrels.
So it was a huge relief when, in 2018, with some added investment, we decided to bite the bullet and purchased an historic old Grémio building within the walls of Estremoz for the purpose of builing our own winery. The building was very run down and in need of extensive works, so the pressure to renovate it and have the cellar ready to receive the grapes in time for the harvest was great. Luckily, nature was on our side.
One of the advantageous internal characteristics of the winery is the use of urban art, which decorates the walls and gives some color to the building.
We believe that as an urban winery, built within the city walls and five minute`s walk from the city center, we have a privileged location, with great for tourism.
The vineyards are in the sub-region of Portalegre, in the Serra de São Mamede. We are a great believers in this cool climate area as the place for the future in the Alentejo to escape from the hazards of climate change. The seven-hectare vineyard is set at a 600 metre altitude with all top red grapes varieties, and we have contracts with farmers with small plots of very old vines, both white and red, for the production of Super-Premium wines.
The project also includes an Alvarinho, made in the region of Monção and Melgaço, Vinho Verde Region, in partnership with a local producer.
The standard wines are branded “Sonhador”, meaning “Dreamer” in Portuguese, a fitting name.
We have been exporting the wines for a number of years and have only recently appointed a local distributor to look after the local market.