From computers to wine…that’s a big change!

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He has a degree in computer science and management, but also in oenology, out of passion. He owned several companies linked to financial software and call centres, all of which were very successful. He was, therefore, a very successful businessman, originally from Aveiro, residing in Lisbon.

Until, in 2000, suddenly, he decided to change his life and the passion for the Douro Valley was stronger. He sold his companies and headed to that northern region with his family to try to find a place where he could make his most recent dream come true: to produce wine in the Douro Valley. After much searching, analysing each case, each proposal, he found that land at the mouth (foz) of the Torto River, with a superb view of the Douro River, some old vineyards and room for other types of cultivation, which met the main requirements he wanted. And so, Quinta do Foz Torto was born, with 14 hectares of land.

Abílio Tavares da Silva then began the whole process of restoring the vineyards and planting the vegetable gardens with traditional products: tomatoes, peppers, chilli peppers, onions, carrots, various types of vegetables and even wild strawberries can be found there. But it was necessary to find someone who knew the region well and to help him make the wine production a reality. The choice fell on someone who, by mere coincidence, had a family name like his but with no family connection: the producer from Douro, and also winemaker, Sandra Tavares da Silva. Besides the old vineyards that he kept, around 80% of the estate was planted with vineyards of the traditional Douro grape varieties: Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Tinto Cão and some others, using the latest technologies but maintaining the tradition. In 2010 the first red wine was presented and in 2011 a reserve white wine. More recently, Abílio Tavares da Silva restored an old lagar (granite tank for foot-treading) in the centre of Pinhão, where his wines are traditionally produced, and began restoring some ruins that the estate had. There is being built a rural tourism unit, featuring 8 bedrooms and a wine tourism centre to welcome visitors and show all the Quinta’s beauty and potential. When he talks about his wines and vegetable gardens, you see a sparkle in his eyes, as if they were his children. When we pay a visit to the estate, we always bring a couple of vegetables, tomatoes, chilli peppers or whatever is ripe at the time.

 

Two years ago, with the help of some fellow wine producers, he organised the contest for the best beef tomato from Douro. And this year will be its third edition and it has been a success. It is the attachment of this man of convictions to the land, to the rural world, that continues to fascinate him so much.

Abílio Tavares da Silva's dream has taken shape and is about to come true: he produces high quality wines, works on his vegetable gardens and orchards with great passion and will be able to share all this with anyone who wants to visit Quinta do Foz Torto, stay there a few days, taste the wines and enjoy meals with many of the estate's very own products.

Abílio Tavares da Silva has changed his life but remains a successful businessman, now in the Douro Valley, doing “something new, special, made and thought out to the smallest detail”, as he once said. The region thanks him, the Douro Valley needs more Abílios like this one…

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