Wines from the Herdade do Rocim estate, which comprises around 70 hectares of vineyard in Portugal’s Alentejo region, are now available in 27 countries. EU investment has helped to increase production and strengthen the position of Alentejo’s wines.
The Herdade do Rocim estate, between Vidigueira and Cuba, in Lower Alentejo, has taken on a leading role in the production of wine in the region. Its development took off in 2000, when Catarina Vieira bought an agricultural holding there.
Originally from Lisbon, she is a winemaker, agronomist and entrepreneur who soon gave up her early dreams of becoming a ballerina or a gymnast to dedicate herself to wine with a passion that was instilled in her by her grandfather. Her family had always been actively involved in winemaking, and now her husband, Pedro Ribeiro, helps run the estate too.
Catarina initially wanted to buy a little vineyard which would enable her to “research methods of pruning and the performance of different varieties of grape”. However, Herdade do Rocim expanded and now accounts for around 70 hectares of vineyard, producing 53 varieties of red wine and 17 white wines.
This expansion was made possible by investments of over €8 million, part of which came in the form of several installments of EU funding. “The European Union has always invested in the agro-industrial sector,” says Catarina.
The first wines only went on sale in 2007, but since then sales have exceeded expectations. “We are expanding well in the domestic market and also internationally; we now have a presence in 27 countries,” Catarina points out. She emphasises that Herdade do Rocim wines sell well in European countries such as Germany, Switzerland and Belgium, but also further afield, in places like the United States, Brazil, China, Angola, Japan and Canada.