An Interview with Pedro Lopes Vieira of Esporão

A few weeks ago we had special guest, Pedro Lopes Vieira, sales manager of Esporão North America at our Sunday tasting.

Esporão is one our favorite Portuguese producers here at Portalis. The estate is located in Portugal’s remote Alentejo region, located 112 miles southeast of Lisbon. Due to their hot climate, their style of wines are ripe, spicy & very easy drinking. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Pedro for a few minutes as he told me a little bit about himself & his interesting wine journey.

Born & raised in Lisbon, Pedro has always been around wine. His family has operated a small biodynamic winery just for the locals (and themselves) for several decades. As a young boy he played a lot of soccer & always dreamt of playing professionally, despite his father wanting a more collegiate path for him. He accomplished his dream when he was picked up by a professional team from the Lisbon area. Though he enjoyed playing soccer & felt a sense of accomplishment (he played professionally for 5 years) in Pedro’s own words, “I realized I wasn’t a great player”. So Pedro, having been around wine his entire life, decided to give it a chance. Instead of working at the family winery though, he chose another route & landed a job in sales for a local distributor called Food & Wine of Portugal. After several successful years with FWP, they offered him an amazing project he couldn’t refuse, to help open a Portuguese wine market in Canada. So he relocated to Toronto, with his girlfriend (now wife), to help bring Portuguese wines into a new market. “Things were very slow at first,” he said, “so the first two years I also worked in restaurants waiting tables while the new branch of FWP was getting started.”  I asked him how his relationship with Esporão began. He said from the beginning with FWP, Esporão was one of the producers in their portfolio, so he was very familiar with the family-owned brand. After 7 yrs in Toronto with FWP, Esporão hired Pedro to represent their brand exclusively. With his new role with Esporão he moved back to Lisbon in 2007 to work more closely with them. Currently Pedro lives in NYC where he has just recently located to help expand Esporão in the US market.

One last questioned for Pedro –
What makes Esporão wines so special? His reply was, “I feel their wines are about tradition & consistency. It’s a huge company producing 14 million bottles a year, yet they are still family-owned since it was purchased in 1973. Their youngest son is now CEO; they’ve kept it in the family, that says a lot about them.” Esporão produces 28 different products including olive oil & has 660 hectares dedicated to vineyards.

We currently we offer the following wines at Portalis:

Esporão 2009 Reserve Branco
  Reg $16.99 | Mixed Case $13.59
Esporão 2004 Syrah  Reg $21.99 | Mixed Case $17.59
Esporão 2004 Quatro Casto  Reg $22.99 | Mixed Case $18.39
Selection Extra Virgin Olive Oil  $19.99



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