A prominent Douro producer is defying the global downturn by investing more than €7m in a new winery and vineyards.

Quinta do Vallado – whose managing director João Ferreira Álvares Ribeiro is one of the ‘Douro boys’ – aims to double annual production from 300,000 to 600,000 bottles and has spent more than €6m on a new winery that should be ready for the 2009 vintage.

The producer is based in the Upper Douro but has bought 40ha of vineyard land in the Douro Superior, close to the Spanish border, at a cost of around €400,000.

The company estimates it will cost more than €1m to plant the land with Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and some experimental Syrah.

Álvares Ribeiro told decanter.com, ‘We need more grapes and we can get them at good prices but have not got full control over quality, and we don’t know what the price of grapes will be in 10 to 20 years’ time.’

The company will focus on table wines rather than Port. Álvares Ribeiro added: ‘For smaller companies, table wine will be the future. The Port wine business is dominated by the big houses and we can’t play in that league.’

The Douro Boys – the directors of Quinta do Vallado, Niepoort, Quinta do Crasto, Quinta do Vale D. Maria and Quinta do Vale Meão – joined forces in 2002 to promote the Douro as a quality still wine region.

Written by Rebecca Gibb