We talk to Joao Pedro Montes, CEO of Wines With Spirit – a wine start up that is getting noticed from Wall Street to Madrid as wine lovers flock to the Lusitanian upstarts from across the Rio Guadiana.
Why do you call it wines with spirit ?
Have you ever felt the need to open your window and scream? An angry cry? An outburst? An achievement? To hold a friend close? To kiss and love? To proudly show the world the person you want to be with? To make a dream come true? To toast to success? To enjoy in a glass of wine all the pleasures of life? We believe that emotions are closely linked to wine, and we know exactly how to nurture that relashionship.
Our wines are born from emotions and circumstances that tell us stories and inspire moments in the consumers’ lives that are meant to be shared, inspiring and strengthening a generation with spirit.
Each of our wines challenges people in many ways and in different moments to let them be seduced by this feeling that goes far beyond the simple act of drinking a glass of wine.
Our wines are designed up to the very last detail, from the vineyard straight to the hearts of those who drink it and will always be perfected to enhance peoples’ emotions. Because we know how to hear your palate!
As such, we say that we are Wine With Spirit, Our Wine , Your Spirit !!!
Are you a wine maker by background ? What made you leap into the unknown ?
No, I didn’t graduate in oenology and I am not winemaker. I graduated in economics and international management in Lisbon and I hold an MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration of the University of Virginia, USA. I have worked in many industries and countries, especially USA where I lived for more than 10 years before returning to Portugal to run the Wine business.
Nevertheless, being raised in a family connected to growing vineyards and making wine since 1868, I have learned a lot about wine and its complexity and yet, I still don’t have a clear preference. I keep it simple. Be it a rose, a white on the beach or a red for dinner, the only thing he is certain of is that these moments are special because of the people he is sharing them with.
I decided to launch WWS Wines concept when I realized that there was a business opportunity, a gap if you like, in the traditional way of making and marketing of wine. Producers insist on speaking about technical characteristics, using specific jargon, like tannins, terroirs or ageing methods, but consumers don’t speak the same language as wine producers whereas they speak of moments, emotions and events.
In 2012 we hired the University of Vlerick in Belgium and Couture (a French company escolarizes in business ethnography) to analyse wine consumers behaviour in emerging and mature wine countries who found that:
- The majority of consumers are driven to consume wine based on emotions or moments. The occasion or the emotion that is linked to that moment is what matters when deciding what wine to buy.
- More than 90% of consumers don’t base their buying decisions on the technical aspects of wine. This does not mean that consumers don’t know how to differentiate a good from a bad wine. It only means that they don’t care about knowing exactly how much tannins or years in French oak a wine has. They just want to be sure they are drinking a quality wine.
- Most consumers are unable to differentiate wines and an overwhelming and undifferentiated wine offer adds stress to the consumer and erodes the producer margins.
- Choosing wine becomes a daunting process.
Portuguese wines are not that known outside of Portugal? Any reason why ? Do you hope to change that ?
Portugal is probably the world’s wine producing country with the best quality-price-ratio as well as the country proportionally with more awards at the most relevant wine contests.
Additionally its the country with more wines on the best 100 wines of the world. Matt Kramer from Wine Spectator points out that:
- “Portugal is home to a dazzling number of indigenous grape varieties that create wines of originality”
- “Portugal is now gushing with STUNNING WINES, stunning deals”
- “Portugal very likely now offers some of the greatest wine values on the market today”
- “Portugal is arguably the most exciting wine place on the planet today”
At WWS our mission is to put Portugal where it belongs on the world map of premium wine!
Portugal has a thousand year-old tradition of viticulture, with a rich tapestry of 250 indigenous grape varieties with more native grapes per square mile than any other country in the world!
What special techniques or practices does Wws use ?
Unlike other wine producers we use a reverse-production-model as such we work our wines from the market to the vineyard, that is, we first identify consumer’s needs in terms of consumption moments/emotions, and only after that, our wine maker, Pedro Sereno, takes that information into the vineyard.
Our wines are unique. Our oenological irreverence has led us to search for the perfect liquid for each and every moment of life.
We select the premium Portuguese grapes to design and produce wine intimately inspired by and for the people who taste it.
Our wines are easy to drink, emotionally compelling and of high quality. All the selection that is made, from the market to the vineyard/cellar, constitutes a major added value, with a highly specialized product associated with rigorous qualitative and certified criteria.
The demands of this challenge make us study markets, people, land, and vineyards, fragrances and flavours. Our wines are designed up to the very last detail, from the vineyard straight to the hearts of those who drink it and will always be perfected to enhance peoples’ emotions.
Additionally, while seeking a sustainable productions model,WWS Wines are Integrated production. Integrated production is a farming system for producing food and other high quality food products through sustainable management of natural resou rces by favouring the use of natural regulation mechanisms to replace factors of production, thus contributing to sustainable agriculture.
Why the name Bastardo ?
First because we believe that Wines With Spirit is a bastard son of a traditional, conservative wine industry 🙂
Bastardo was our first wine, that is present in 22 countries and our top seller.
Bastardo is the typically irreverent, controversial, enterpeneural, excited, incorrigible son … that the old-aunts criticise but in the end everybody loves him 🙂
Bastardo is also a polysemic word (several meanings). Its and ancient grape name, it is an illegitimate son, it is a good villain.
As a wine its young and quality wine for a audience that does not have the wine ritual ingrained in times of fun and relaxation … and it came to say that wine is not just for eno-Boring people!!
Wine can be and its is fun!! It has strong, catchy visuals, with the shape and colour of the label and name of the brand designed to disrupt and leave no one indifferent.
The blend is designed to be enjoyed both at the table, with a meal, as well as in a party or social event with friends. It is, therefore, a very consensual blend.
The concept behind the wine: “Irony of fate that things didn’t turn out as expected. But you control your destiny! If love is war, you know how to win. The day was bad, the night will be for party. Now, no one stops you! Savor your essence.
At home, with your friends, in the middle of the crowd… Open a bottle, drink one glass and celebrate life. Taste and let yourself be tasted. Illegitimate would be to stop being yourself!”
Do you think the Spanish public will appreciate Wws wines ?
I am absolutely sure that the Spanish public will love not only the wines but also the experience of behind our bottled emotions!
The quality of our wines, its awards and the disruptive concept allied to the fact that Spaniards like to spend time meeting friends for a drink, enjoy the good weather, good food and parties makes spaniards a perfect public for enotainment and therefore for Wine With Spirit!
Where do you see Wws in 10 years ?
We are a Portuguese wine producer with the mission of taking Enotainment to the world, combining innovation in the way of producing and drinking wine with the experience of an ancient industry.
Our wines, several times internationally awarded, are present in 5 continents, reaching diverse cultures and speaking several languages.
As such, we won’t stop until the world world has Enotaiment as an experience.
In 10 years we want to be the number one Portuguese wine producer and TOP 20 in Europe!
Thank you Joao!