MEET Rodrigo Martins
My name is Rodrigo Martins, a native of Caldas da Rainha in Portugal. I’m an agronomic engineer and master in viticulture and oenology. Currently I’m working as a winemaker consultant all over Portugal, and I started my personal wine project in 2014, at Alcobaça in the Lisboa wine region, working with the brand Espera.
All the vineyards are in Alcobaça (5ha) but from 2021 we will also have new vineyards in Óbidos (Lisboa wine region, DOC Obidos).
Our goal is to work only with native varieties, working in an organic way in the vineyards and winery. All fermentations are made by indigenous yeasts.
Our winery is also in Alcobaça. It’s a very simple set up, with hardly any technology, where high grape quality is our main goal to achieve great, terroir driven wines.
Briefly, what does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability is a way of thinking and working where the environment is always the first priority, and the quality of the fruit we produce is at the centre of everything, to the benefit of my generation and future generations. Balance between Man and Nature is the key word for us.
What steps are you taking to be more sustainable in your vineyard and winery?
In the vineyards we use no herbicides, no synthetic pesticides, hand work most of vineyards activities and use no irrigation. In the winery we use only natural fermentations, no temperature control on our fermentation vessels, no fining, no filtration, low levels of sulfur, natural corks, and lighter bottles for our own bottling operation, as well as taking part in the Bottle Return Scheme.
What impact do you think climate change will have in your region over the next few decades?
My region is one of the most well prepared for climate change, because we are near the Atlantic sea and our soils are clay with limestone, with a good capacity to retain water.
With climate changes there are some grape varieties that will fit better in each region, and choice of these will be one of the most important decisions when deciding to plant a new vineyard.
What have you changed over the last few years to tackle climate change?
Working mainly with local varieties, choose soils with greater water capacity, improving biodiversity in our vineyards.
Briefly describe your winemaking style
Generally 90% of my wines are oak fermented/matured, but only with old barrels (2-8 years old), and more and more large oak barrels (500-700L). For some wines we use only stainless steel to really preserve purity of fruit and, starting in 2021, we will also be using concrete and clay pots.
For the last few years, our reds have spent less time macerating on their skins, to avoid excessive tannins and to enable us put wines on market in a younger, more fruity style, with less alcohol and more freshness.
Which is your favourite grape variety to work with?
Reds: Castelão and Touriga Nacional
Whites: Arinto, Bical and Fernão Pires
What would be the perfect food pairing for the wine you’re supplying to BW?
Spicy food, soft cheeses and fat protein (meat and fish).
How would you pitch your wine to a customer at a bar or restaurant?
A nice fresh easy drink red, to be drink relaxed without any special moment or meal.
What do you think is the next big trend in the world of wine?
Natural and organic wines, made as traditionally as possible in an artisan style, with local varieties from each wine region in the world.