Barros, Almeida & Ca. is not as well-known as it should be… it’s an interesting company, which at some point was responsible for 6% of the total Port production. Considered with the age of many other Port Wine companies they are quite young – just a little bit over 100 years old.
It was Manuel de Almeida who founded the company in 1913, under the name “Almeida & Ca.”. Due to the amazing book “Dicionario Ilustrado do Vinho do Porto” (Manuel Pintao/Carlos Cabral) Manuel de Almeida was born 1898 in Vila Nova de Gaia. Which means that he was 15 years old when he founded the company. Which might or might not be true.. I know that many companies were founded by quite young people – but 15 seems to be too young…
He was an amazing person and was from 1948 to 1953 the president of the very import “Gremio dos Exportadores de Vinho do Porto”. When he died in 1974 he was for sure very proud about what he had achieved during his lifetime. He had been able to create a real Port Wine empire.
He got help from his brother-in-law. There are rumors that Manuel Moreira de Barros was a simple office boy when he and the sister of Manuel de Almeida fell in love and married. No family member could be office boy – and so Manuel Moreira de Barros was made partner of the firm and in 1920 the name of the enterprise changed to “Barros, Almeida & Ca.”. After a few good years very difficult times started – first the big depression, then the second world war. But the company was very well managed and survived those days by being very careful and frugal with their cash. They were able to acquire other, well established companies during those years. The biggest coup was the purchase of Kopke in 1952. By then, Barros, Almeida had already bought Hutcheson & Co., Pinto dos Santos Jr, Antonio da Rocha Leao and Feuerheerd Bros. They had also launched a few more brands on their own: Vieira de Sousa & Ca. and The Douro Wine, Shippers and Growers Association. By adding Kopke (supposingly founded in 1638) to the portfolio of companies they had now the bragging rights to own the oldest Port Wine company of Portugal.
Main markets were the Benelux countries that liked their cheap Rubies and Tawnies: France, Holland, Belgium. Germany was also an important market.
It all changed in 2006 when Barros, Almeida & Ca. experienced finally the feeling how it is to be taken over… SOGEVINUS bought the company and brand.
While Barros, Almeida & Ca. owned two Quintas in the Douro Valley, Quinta Dona Matilda and Quinta Sao Luiz, only one of these remained with Barros, Almeida: Quinta Sao Luiz. Quinta Dona Matilda wasn’t part of the deal with SOGEVINUS.