Interview on Jornal de Negócios

 

António Maçanita is one of the leading Portuguese winemakers of his generation, crafting wines which are constantly recognized in the most prestigious competitions and publications. Founder and owner of FITAPRETA, Antonio is also a consultant winemaker for over 13 other wineries in Portugal through his consultancy company Wine ID.

 
Dynamic and restless (as the critics describe him), he loves a good challenge and has developed several wine projects in unlikely regions, using previously unheard of grape varieties that have now become notable success stories.

 
Born in 1979, he got in contact with grapes at the tender age of 4, playing in the vineyards during harvest, drinking fresh juice from tanks and stepping on grapes at a cousin’s winery. Aged 18, Antonio’s life was more about “spear fishing and surf” than studying. He initially planned to study Marine Biology but a teacher convinced him pick Agronomic Sciences, a more generic science degree that could be used as a basis for further studies. He applied for the course but somehow he got the codes wrong and ended in Agro-Industrial Engineering, that includes winemaking. So it was that a quirk of fate led Antonio down the path of winemaking.

 
At university his enthusiasm for vineyards was immediate, getting him involved with a plantation in the Azores, followed by working tours in Napa Valley first at Merryvale Vineyards (2001) and later at the Rudd Estate (2002). Having finished his degree, he worked at D’Arenberg, in Australia (2003) before deciding that her needed to move to the mecca of traditional winemaking, France. So he cut a deal with a French rugby club, playing for them and in return they would find him a placement at a local wine producer. While waiting for confirmation António completed a harvest in what was to become a reference wine producer in Portugal, Malhadinha Nova. The news that he had a job in France came through, and off he went to Chateau Lynch Bages in Bordeaux (2003). In 2004, he returned to Portugal at the age of 24 and together with David Booth he started FITAPRETA, that soon produced its first wine and, soon after that, its first trophy. Consulantancy work followed and by the age of 25 he was consulting for 5 wineries.

 
Since his return, António has been working on several projects including the development of the new concept of a Portuguese “terroir”. He is a regular speaker at wine conferences and a guest lecturer at local university Masters Degree programmes. Since 2010, he has collaborated with the Ponta Delgada Hotel School on a “food and wine pairing” course.

 
A gymnast as a kid, a surfer and rugby player as a teenager, Antonio still surfs and plays beach rugby during the long Portuguese summer. He loves wine and loves life!

 

Hora do Baco – António Maçanita speaks about the wine
Channel 9 Washington – US – António Cooks and talks about Sexy Wines