The project was started in 2007 by winemaker Tiago Sampaio, working with family estate vineyards in the high altitude slopes of the Alto Douro, in the sub-region of Cima-Corgo. Tiago’s path in wine started with his grandfather piggybacking him through the family vineyards, developing a curiosity and fascination for wine-growing that led him into agricultural studies at Santo Tirso and then five years of university in Vila Real. His studies culminated in a PhD from Oregon for Viticulture and Enology. It was during his PdD studies that Tiago learned the modern philosophies and aesthetics of winemaking, but he never forgot his roots in the Douro and so returned to create his estate.
The Alto Douro is difficult and challenging; vines cling to the steep slopes of schist and granite at an altitude between 500-700m. Tiago works with numerous varieties of indigenous vines, some planted over 80 years ago, and from these he creates field blends of red, white, and mixed. Tiago has fascination with Pinot Noir vines, from which he makes red, rosé, and Pet Nat. Tiago pushes the boundaries of his curiosity; creating unexpected wines from a traditional region.
Vineyard work follows organic principles, however the vineyards are not certified. Full use of a cover crop between rows, mostly composed of local plants, with some parts seeded with legumes to boost the nitrogen in the soil. Cover crops are only cut down when soil moisture levels drop significantly to reduce competition with the vines, and only after blooming and seed formation to attract beneficial insects and birds. To reduce toxicity in the soil, copper is only used in small amounts in difficult years. In “normal” years, only three light sulphur applications are needed, otherwise plant infusions and sexual confusion schemes are used to reduce insect pressure in the vineyards.
Note:UIVO - pronounced wee-voh - means “howl”, and has many connotations, including an observation of the frequent visits of wildlife through the vineyards, which includes foxes.