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In the Ferreira Cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, lies what is probably the largest and finest collection of nineteenth and twentieth century wines, the oldest wine dating as far back as 1815.
The famous and very fine 1834 vintage, one of the best of the nineteenth century, was the centre of a tragic yet fascinating episode. In 1897, the Swedish explorer Auguste Andrée, along with two companions, decided to cross the North Pole in a balloon. On 14th July 1897 the balloon fell into the Arctic. Amazingly, it is known that on September 27th the explorers were still alive and held a banquet on a floating piece of ice. The main dish was seal and seagull breast, but the highlight of the banquet was a bottle of Vintage "D. Antónia Ferreira" Porto, 1834, a gift from the king of Sweden.
Ferreira wines have won gold medals at times and places as diverse as the Philadelphia International Exhibition (USA, 1876) and the Universal Exhibition in Paris (France, 1900), or the recent and prestigious International Wine Challenge (UK, 2009) , Vinales Internationales (France, 2008, 2010) or the Decanter World Awards (UK, 2009).
Ferreira 1851 was excellent and very fine, having earned the title of "Great Exhibition Vintage." Michael Broadbent (Master of Wine) tasted it in 1975 and considered it: "the most magnificent old port I have ever drunk". For this specialist, Ferreira Duque de Bragança 20 year Tawny Porto is his preferred everyday Porto wine.
Ferreira was the first Porto brand to emerge from selling wholesale, in barrel to selling exclusively in bottles. Ferreira was the first Porto brand to commit to the Reserve category with its Dona Antónia wine, and is a clear leader in this category. Ferreira's logo is a lesser rhea, a very elegant flightless bird that never takes a backwards step.
The television history series "A Ferreirinha", produced for RTP in 2004, was inspired by the life of Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira and the unique legacy she left Portugal, Douro and Porto Wine.
The Dona Antónia prize (established by her descendants and by the Ferreira company in 1988) annually distinguishes a Portuguese woman who stands out because of her entrepreneurial spirit and for her business organization and management skills for which Dona Antónia was also known. In 1861, Dona Antónia survived the sinking of a traditional rabelo boat in the rapids at "Cachão da Valeira", thanks to her wide dress that kept her afloat until she was rescued.
Dona Antónia was so important for the Douro Region that her funeral was attended by 95 priests and over 30,000 people.
The slogan "Foi você que pediu...?" is one of the most famous in Portuguese advertising history, with spontaneous recall rates only achieved by few other national campaigns.
Port Vintage Report: First Vintage to be declared after the April 1974 Revolution. Fist Vintage totally bottled in Portugal, under legal resolution. After a rainy winter, it was a hot and dry year, particularly in the summer. Some rain at the beginning of September, before the harvest. Late harvest, at the beginning of October. Scarce production. Almost all producers declared production, although few wines proved to be exceptional, revealing themselves to be less lasting than was expected.