Originally trained as a biotechnology engineer, Hugo Mendes a native of Ribeira de Santarem, Cartaxo, harbored ambitions of discovering a cancer cure. But as fate would have it, his investigative career took an unexpected twist before it even began. Blame it on the allure of the winery, where he worked as a cellar hand during the vintage season. That’s where the magic happened; he fell head over heels in love with the world of wine. In 2004, he decided to chart a new course.
Hugo’s journey unfolded like a fine wine aging gracefully. This pivotal experience led him to venture into an internship at a prominent Portuguese beer company. Subsequently, he honed his skills at four major wine companies. He ascended the ranks, progressing from a junior winemaker to a senior winemaker, and ultimately, to a wine producer.
In 2016, after dedicating 11 years to crafting wines for others, Hugo decided it was time to pour his creativity into his own brand. The reason was straightforward: he had a passion for shaping wine profiles, experimenting with various techniques, deciphering terroirs, and exploring grape varieties. The wineries he collaborated with seemed stuck in “cruise control mode.” Many profiles were stagnant, leaving little room for innovation, new wines, or fresh approaches. Hugo held a firm belief that every region possessed the potential for remarkable wines; all one needed to do was interpret the grapes and let the wine reveal itself.
With no grapes, no winery, and minimal capital at his disposal, he embarked on an audacious journey. He rented a plot in a vineyard, sought the help of a friend’s winery, and turned to crowdfunding to fund the bottling process, and successfully launched his debut vintage. The rest, as they say, is history. Hugo earned himself the nickname “The Wizard Apprentice,” and one sip of his wines will show you why.
His inaugural solo venture featured a captivating blend of Fernão Pires and Arinto whites from the 2016 harvest. In 2019, Hugo introduced the Castelao varietal, marking his first foray into red wine within the project. Since then, he has introduced a diverse range of wines, including this delightful Rosé from the Tejo Region.
In every bottle that bears his name, you’ll discover a journey filled with passion, dedication and a profound respect for the art of winemaking. It’s a testament to Hugo Mendes’ unwavering commitment to crafting wines that tell a unique and compelling story.
Distributed via Craft Cellars, Craft Collective’s wine division, offering a carefully curated selection of wine from small, artisan producers worldwide, with a focus on quality, passion, and unique, distinctive wines.