David Conceição is the owner of Belmira Wines, a Portuguese wine brand with quality and excellence at its core and whose wines are favourites among Irish wine lovers. Here, David chats to F&W to get the real insight into the story behind his company and his wines...
Belmira Cruz is a wine brand with 30 years of experience in the area of the Portuguese viticulture. Having started this family project in the beautiful Alentejo region, located between Lisboa (Lisbon) and the Algarve, owner David Conceição has grown the business to be one of the most successful in Portugal and last year, along with his business partner Pedro Madeira, set up Portugal Vineyards Limited in Ireland due to the demand from Irish customers.
From the very beginning, the main goal and focus have been the pursuit of excellence for all the wines combining the best quality and price.
Currently, Belmira Cruz is a solid and successful brand, specialized in the production, commercialisation and delivery of high-quality wines, continuing to create new wines with great news for the future, having always its own and its client’s success as a goal.
How did Belmira Cruz come about?
"Belmira Cruz was not something planned or a project draft on paper. As a wine, it was a blend of passions, ideas and opportunities that have had been ageing over time.
It was 1996 and my very dear Grandmother Belmira Cruz was my life inspiration. She was a loving, full of qualities and an amazing human being and my tribute to her, while she was around, was using not only her name for the wine brand but also, to reflect all of her qualities in and out of a wine bottle."
How has your family always been involved in wine?
"It used to be very common that people grew vines to make their own wine and to discuss among friends who had made the best 'Grape Juice'. My grandmother's family had a small vineyard where they used to produce homemade wine every year for their own consumption and I grew up with this tradition. Because of this, my family, somehow, will always be involved. Every single person that has joined to elevate Belmira Cruz wines, from the wine-grower to my business partners, has also become a family member."
Do you think Portugues wines, in general, have a distinctive character to other countries?
"Undoubtedly, the fact that Portugal is a country with a huge Atlantic frontier, together with the necessary conditions for quality winegrowing, from the micro-climates scattered throughout the country, different soils and altitudes, coupled with a huge sun exposure throughout the year and with some of the best Vitis Vinifera grape varieties in the world, gives Portugal a status of reference!"
How do you select where to source your grapes from? Is it because of the variety, terroir or producer (or a mix of all!)?
"Once we have a considerable portfolio with the main regions of the country, what determines a new wine is, without a doubt, the constant changes in market trends. The strategy is to follow the profile of the consumer and make wines in line with the market momentum, having, of course, a blend of those three elements."
How many wines are in your portfolio now?
"At the moment, we have about 33 references in our portfolio of eight protected regions – DOC. There are several ongoing projects, some in the final phase and others unpublished.
We have been growing at an amazing pace in the last three years and at this moment the strategy is to maintain quality and bet on differentiation and uniqueness with projects out of the box."
"For many years I have seen a passion from the Irish people for Portuguese wines. When I was still a kid, I used to sell wines in a Wine Shop. I loved talking about the wines! The comments from the Irish customers were, basically, always the same – 'What an amazing wine!' Followed up with the conclusion – 'It's a shame not to be able to buy it at home'.
Irish people have a refined palate for alcoholic beverages. From the amazing Irish whiskeys, with some of the premium ones being aged in Porto (Port) wine barrels – a perfect example of harmonization of the soul of Portuguese wine with the Irish Distillery soul – to the beer.
Irish people have discovered the perfect structure with Portuguese wines, with all the ramifications necessary to blow them away, and for this, the Irish taste profile matches perfectly with Portuguese wines.
As well as being the wines in the world with the best quality/price relation, i.e. best value.
I think the best of Portuguese wines is yet to come! It is definitely going towards that direction and it is a really exciting time."
Do you have a favourite wine from the portfolio?
"I do not have one. There are a number of factors in selecting a wine. It has to do with the moment, environment, company, food and even emotional state!
I live in the Algarve so, without a doubt, I highly recommend Belmira Cruz Vinho-Verde Azal and Alvarinho (white) wines for this season of the year."
For more information, visit the Belmira Cruz website here.