Quinta do Ameal is based in Lima River Valley where it is known for helping to prop up the region’s growing reputation for producing high quality whites – in Ameal’s case, mainly from the Loureiro grape variety.
Esporão is one of the largest privately owned producers Alentejo in the south of Portugal, which accounts for around a third of Portugal’s land mass.
It is also the owner of Monte Velho – one of the biggest selling Portuguese brands domestically and the number one seller of Portguese wines by value in Brazil.
The acquisition further extends the company’s hand into northern Portugal, where it already owns Quinta dos Murças in the Douro.
Pedro Araújo, who has been at the head of the Ameal project since his family acquired it in the 1990s, will continue as part of the team.
João Roquette, CEO of Esporão, said: “This idea grew as we recognised the great quality and potential of the wines produced by Pedro Araújo at Quinta do Ameal, and built trust, friendship and a vision of the future, sharing the desire to make great wines with an identity and sense of place, which also challenged the region’s status quo. Esporão welcomes this legacy, conscious of the trust that was placed in us and with great enthusiasm about the future.”
Esporão is aiming to build synergies between the two companies’ production methods and values, which include organic production and wine tourism.
Ameal currently welcomes 2,000 visitors a year to its Lima River Valley vineyards, where its own 30 ha of land under vine.
Its brands, Ameal Loureiro, Quinta do Ameal Solo Único, Quinta do Ameal Escolha, Ameal Espumante and Ameal Colheita Tardia are all aimed at independent retailers and restaurants and are available in 20 markets worldwide.
Esporão meanwhile was founded in 1973 by José Roquette and Joaquim Bandeira.
It’s vineyards are currently under the directorship of Australian-born David Baverstock, who has been chief winemaker at Esporão for a number of years.
Recent developments include the conversion of all of Esporão’s 470 ha of privately owned land in Alentejo to organic viticulture.
When it receives its organic certificate, due later this year, it will be the first winery in the region to covert any large proportion of production to organic ways of working.