Barca Velha has been chosen numerous times by Portuguese bodies for official receptions of civilian, military and religious world dignitaries, including the Pope.
The extreme heat of the Douro Superior, and the fact that there was no electricity in the region at the time, led the creator of Barca Velha to order ice be transported on trucks from Matosinhos to Pocinho, to ensure fermentation occurred at controlled temperatures (a technological innovation at the time).
The name Barca Velha ("Old Boat") is associated with a(n old) boat which in those days crossed the Douro, near the farms where the wine was produced.
There is only one bottle of the first Barca Velha harvest left- a magnum from 1952, of incalculable value today.
In more than half a century of existence, Barca Velha had only 16 harvests and three winemakers: Fernando Nicolau de Almeida, the mythical creator of this precious wine, was able to pass on a deep love of the Douro to José Maria Soares Franco and Luís Sottomayor, the latter now the winemaking director for all Sogrape Vinhos’ Douro region wines.