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Wine to 5: Pedro Araújo, MD of World of Wine cultural district (Porto)

Inside a professional’s everyday life, Decanter speaks to Pedro Araújo, MD of World of Wine (WOW) cultural district in Porto.

From a young age, Pedro Araújo realised he wanted to create flavours and textures that stir the senses. He left Portugal to work as a chef, returning to discover a passion for cacao and chocolate. He joined WOW to lead the creation of a museum dedicated to the origins of cacao and the history of chocolate, also building a factory and creating the Vinte Vinte brand.

How did you get here?

I started out as a chef in the UK, in the 1990s. The next step was restaurant and hotel management, both in the UK and Portugal, which evolved into business management within the same industry. A decade ago I also got involved in the cacao and chocolate worlds. It was my food & beverage experience, and the cacao/chocolate, that brought me to WOW – I was responsible for managing all the F&B projects here, and for creating the chocolate museum and the chocolate brand Vinte Vinte. This led to me being appointed managing director of WOW and director for Vinte Vinte.

What’s the best thing about your job?

There are many good things about it, but I would have to say the best thing is dealing with people. Companies are made of people, for people, so the human aspect of business management is the most rewarding.

What’s the most common misconception about your job?

Probably that I get to taste a lot of wine and chocolate.

Your greatest moment, professionally?

I find myself divided between the creation of the museum and the creation of my brand, Vinte Vinte.

And your greatest mistake?

My biggest mistake is to believe that I can change the world.

What does it take to be successful in your profession?

People skills, above all. The ability to understand people’s needs, the capability to be assertive and pragmatic. Also, the courage to dream and to dare.

How do you manage to keep all the balls in the air, running 12 restaurants and bars, a wine school and seven museums?

Allow me to add the Vinte Vinte chocolate brand, the Taylor’s visitor centre and Fonseca visitor centre. The answer is simple: teamwork. I’m merely the visible face of a much bigger team of great professionals.

What’s important in wine tourism?

The goal is to demystify, to capture the attention of all generations, and to explain wine and winemaking regions without the oft-associated aspects of elitism. Wine is for everyone, it is not exclusive to a group of more competent connoisseurs.

Is WOW a template that should be copied in other wine regions?

The main purpose of WOW is to pay homage to what is best done in Portugal’s wine regions. I believe that, in this sense, it is really important for every wine region throughout the world to replicate our concept. Defending what makes us genuine and what sets us apart is not copying – quite the contrary. We would be very honoured if others follow our example.

What’s the main draw to the complex?

Our top three best-selling attractions are The Wine Experience; The Chocolate Story; and The Pink Palace (which celebrates the world of rosé). Every day of the week, it’s buzzing.

What makes Port and chocolate such a perfect pairing?

It’s a match made in heaven. Chocolate has a high content of cocoa butter which ‘protects’ the tongue from the alcohol and enhances the subtle and volatile notes in both the chocolate and the wine. What’s more, the natural sweetness of Port balances out and complements the bitterness of dark chocolate, shining a light on its aromatic complexity.

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