Featured exhibitor: DFJ Vinhos
José Neiva Correia: Dedicated to the art of winemaking
by Marie-Claude Veillette
Since 2005, José Neiva Correia has been the sole proprietor and principal winemaker for DFJ Vinhos, founded in 1998 by José and his two previous partners Dino and Fausto. With an annual production capacity of six million bottles, DFJ Vinhos sources their grapes from a network of partners who together oversee 200 hectares of vineyards in the regions of Lisboa, Tejo, Douro, Peninsula de Setúbal and Alentejo in Portugal. Additional materials for DFJ wines are sourced from Rui Abreu Correia Herd, a 200-hectare property that has belonged to the Neiva Correia family for generations.
José Neiva Correia was born in 1949 and grew up on the Porto Franco property in Alenquer, which was established before 1143 when Portugal born. The land is rich with history: José’s great-grandfather acquired the property from Sebastião José de Carvalho, one time Governor of Lisbon and Minister of Public Works under Luís I. As the sixth of eight children, Neiva Correia pursued the family tradition of winemaking along with his brothers and sisters - a natural choice considering that the Correia family is descended from a long line of winemakers.
José Neiva Correia is renowned for his forward-thinking approach to winemaking and commitment to sound agricultural practices; he has also played a leading role in the introduction of new varieties of wine to Portugal. In the 90’s Correia took a chance when he tested the Caladoc, a cross between Grenache and Malbec which he blended with Alicante Bouschet or Tinta Roriz, achieving great success. In 2005 he gambled again on Dornfelder, a German grape with a short growth cycle. Once again, the final product was a winner.
Correia has a succinct motto and mission as a winemaker: " Produce good wines at competitive prices. "
Without a doubt, he has achieved his goals. DFJ Vinhos produces 77 different varieties of wine at commercial scale, which are in turn marketed and sold under 33 unique brands.
Correia’s grand, 5.4-million-litre capacity wine cellar - constructed inside of a shuttered distillery, the Quinta da Fonte Bela, which was built in 1901 – has been referred to as the Cathedral of Wine due to the beauty and complexity of its design made by Eiffel disciples.
When it was founded in 1998, DFJ Vinhos had only one objective: to export all of their commercial products to the United Kingdom and conquer the British palate with Portuguese wines. This mission has been achieved, with more than 1.5 million bottles of DFJ products imported by the U.K. every year, but with time Correia’s wines have reached far beyond the shores of Britain, Scotland and Wales.
" Every year, we export 95% of our production to 45 separate countries in addition to the U.K. : Canada, United States, Australia, European countries, countries in Africa and Asia, as well as smaller amounts to the, Russia, India, and Brazil, " he says.
Today, the name José Neiva Correia and the reputation of his winery are recognized by wine lovers and professional winemakers around the globe. Correia’s products and brands have won more than 100 prizes at the International Wine Challenge, including two prestigious Wine of the Year selections for DFJ red wines. Since 2010 its wines won more than 1000 awards and trophies around the globe. Clearly, DFJ Vinhos has a lot to offer to the fortunate importers who will be attending this year’s Global Wine Meetings event, being held April 19-20 in Taipei, Taiwan.