While some bottles attract attention with splashy graphics and famous names, the front label of a 2016 red called Morgado’s Vineyard features a farmer sporting a kerchief and an apron. A New Bedford address on the back clues you in to its maker.
“I started Travessia 10 years ago,” says Marco Montez, marveling at his decade-long journey as an urban winemaker in Southeastern Massachusetts. A few years back, because of vagaries of weather that decreased vineyard yields, he found it difficult to purchase Bay State-grown fruit. “No grapes, no wine, right?” he notes.
Montez could have sourced fruit from California, but looked instead to Transmontano, in northeastern Portugal, where his family’s vineyard and winery are located. He thought of Mrs. Morgado, a neighboring potato farmer, who grows indigenous varietals like tinta carvalha and touriga nacional on a 5-acre plot. She could have sold her grapes to the local cooperative, but Montez made her a better deal.
“I bought the grapes, was there for harvest, and I picked with my picking crew,” the winemaker explains, detailing how he processed the fruit, shipped it to his winery in New Bedford, and crafted an unfiltered field blend that’s juicy and full of character. Part of a line of wines called Growers Society, each wine is named for its farmer. The project is creating a stir.
“People [there] say, ‘There’s a guy who takes grapes to America and he pays on time!’ ” he says. “My phone rings every day.”
This wine ($15-$19) is available at Bin Ends, Needham, 781-400-2086, and Massachusetts Wine Shop, Boston Public Market, 617-909-5643.Ellen Bhang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.