Updated: Jul 27, 2021
Cheleiros just as Bucelas wine region is also in danger of being forgotten. Locals left their vineyards and fields for big city life, as, perhaps, the government doesn't encourage its' citizens enough to be engaged in agriculture. But revitalization came from an unexpected source and now Jampal - an indigenous thought to be extinct and grown only here grape variety is being promoted all over the world.
MANZWINE and Cheleiros
just a century ago these hills were covered with vineyards, 43 wineries to be exact
The story of this estate made my purchasing decision before I even tasted their wine. In short:
- Andre Manz a football player from Brazil comes to play in Lisbon.
- Gets the worst possible injury for a goalkeeper - breaks his hand, just after 1 year playing in Lisbon.
- Instead of going back home, he now becomes a fitness entrepreneur. Up til now, Andre owns the Portuguese bodypump franchise, and this fitness income is still what sources his wine ventures.
- He moves to Cheleiros village with his family, seeking healthier and calmer surroundings than central Lisbon. Among ancient a Roman bridge and Neolithic settlements, he discovers that just a century ago these hills were covered with vineyards. 43 wineries to be exact, with zero at the moment when Manz moved.
In the beginning, Andre was making wine 'just for fun' - for himself, his family and friends. But being curious by nature (up to this point it's obvious he was), he kept asking locals what was the grape variety planted on the old plot he bought. Experts couldn't answer, but an old lady from the village said it was Jampal, a variety her father used to make wine.
this variety didn't grow anywhere else in the world, it was indigenous to Cheleiros and only existed here
Now the Portuguese Institute of Wine became helpful again - apparently, this variety didn't grow anywhere else in the world, it was indigenous to Cheleiros and only existed here. Andre, as you see, bought an antique plot. He didn't start from scratch but with 20 years old Jampal vines. It was obvious that this vine was destined to be the signature variety of the winery.
So their first professional winemaking facilities found their place in an old school building. When I came, it was the first year that they moved to bigger premises, increasing their production x10 times. The old school building is now used for ageing in oak barrels.
Once you visit MANZ WINES you'll be received at another ancient building - now MANZ's museum of wine and tasting room. The most precious thing here is the old wine press - it used to exist in more or less every house of the village, but not anymore.