José Maria da Fonseca

A trained mathematician, José Maria da Fonseca in 1834 founded the company that still bears his name in the town of Vila Nogueira de Azeitão. His enterprising spirit was evident with key innovations such as the use of ploughs and the marketing of wine in bottles. He also pioneered the creation of brands: Moscatel de Setúbal (1849), Periquita (1850) and Palmela Superior (1866). Early on, Brazil became the main export market for the company, which even set up offices in Rio de Janeiro. But at the end of the 1920s, the global Depression and resulting period of instability in Brazil were disastrous for JMF, which was obliged to sell properties such as Viúva Gomes vineyard in the Colares (Sintra) region. Recovery was achieved with the rosés Faísca (1937) and Lancers (1944) – both created by the oenologist Antônio Porto Soares Franco – and the white wine BSE (1945). Today, JMF produces 6.5 million litres of wine a year to meet growing demand from a global market. For a visit and tasting, take out Wine & Arrábida tour.