The story of Adega Viúva Gomes is one of legacy, tradition and resilience. For over 200 years, this adega has stood firmly in Colares, the only European region that is still untouched by the dreaded phylloxera, due to their sandy soil.
Adega Viúva Gomes is a solid representative of the history of Colares. The word ‘legacy’ represents this adega, which withstood for over two centuries, one being with the denomination of Colares, which is the only place in Europe where the dreaded phylloxera didn’t reach, due to their sandy soil. ‘Viúva’ in the name means widow, and comes from the founder of the business, ‘Widow Gomes’ back in 1808, and since then the business was passed around, and it finally reached into hands of Jose Baeta in 1988, whose family was in the food distribution business for decades. He decided to switch business which brought him a newfound passion for wine. Which came with a blessing, in the year of the purchase, Diogo, who would become the future winemaker of Viúva Gomes was born as well. The adega came with a bonus too, in the cellars there were thousands of bottles from the best and highest yielding harvests of the century such as 1934, 1969 and so on, just waiting to be enjoyed. Although, there was a challenge. No one wanted to buy the wines due to the unpopularity of the area. Jose had to sit out over a decade before things changed. After a while, old vintages of Colares became popular amongst wine geeks and Adega Viúva Gomes became popular with it, due to the stock at hand. Although this marked only the beginning for the future of the Adega. Diogo Baeta, son of Jose, has evolved and taken Viúva Gomes to a new phase, planting their own vineyards. These vineyards are not only in ‘chão de areia’(sandy soils’) but also in clay soils. The challenge is, planting new vineyards in this area is quite risky. New vines have to be planted in the clay soil underneath the sand, meaning that a large pit must be dug. Digging this pit is a dangerous activity to begin with, because sand over clay is not stable and may collapse. In the past, to fight this issue, workers were wearing baskets on their heads so when sand collapses, there is some oxygen for people to breathe while getting out. So, as you may see, the effort behind a Colares wine is exceptional. After planting their own vineyards, Diogo Baeta decided to create the ‘Pirata’(pirate) range of wines to have more hands-off, natural style wines in clay soil. Now, the course of Viúva Gomes is giving new life to the heritage of the area that seems to be on the edge of extinction with respecting the ancestral practices and natural viticulture.