Owners of Quinta de Covela in the Vinho Verdes region and investors further upriver in the heart of the D.O.C. Douro region at Quinta da Boavista and Quinta das Tecedeiras, the Lima Smith partnership has transformed itself in a very short time into one of the most dynamic projects in the Portuguese wine industry today. Its founders – Brazilian Marcelo Lima and Briton Tony Smith, are passionate about the wines produced along the Douro Valley and are firm in their belief of the growing potential of top-quality Portuguese wines in world markets.

In just three years, first with the acquisition and relaunch of Covela – winner of the Viticulture of the Year prize in Portugal – followed by the expansion into the Douro D.O.C. with the purchase of Boavista and the long-term lease of Tecedeiras, the partners have created a boutique wine producer. Today, Lima Smith has strong Portuguese roots but also an inherent capacity for internationalization, proven recently by the partners’ announcement they had acquired a participation in Champy, Burgundy’s oldest négociant.

The partners began their Odyssey in the wine business in July 2011, acquiring Quinta de Covela, a romantically beautiful property on the right bank of the Douro river where granitic soils mark the transition zone between the Douro and the Minho (in this case, the Baião sub-region of the Vinhos Verdes D.O.C.). The duo breathed new life into a revered but moribund estate, re-hiring the viticulture and winemaking teams, renewing both vineyards and winery. The first fruit of these investments was the re-launch of Covela’s characterful wines in 2013. Returning to the market were the classic Covela Escolha Branco 2012 and Covela Escolha Tinto 2012 – both unoaked blends, plus a vibrantly new wine – the Edição Nacional Branco 2012 – the first Vinho Verde ever commercialized by Covela and made of its flagship grape – Avesso. These wines, bearing the signature of winemaker Rui Cunha, involved at Covela since its inception as a commercial vineyard in the 1990s, received excellent critics and both white wines sold out just a few months after their launch. For its extensive and careful recuperation and reform of the Covela vineyards, Lima Smith was awarded the 2013 Viticulture of the Year prize by Revista de Vinhos, Portugal’s most respected wine magainze.

Spurred on by those first successes, the partners decided to expanded their interests upriver, acquiring in July, 2013, one of the D.O.C. Douro’s most emblematic properties - Quinta da Boavista, forever associated with Baron Joseph James Forrester, one of the most important personalities in the history of Port wine and the Douro. Boavista, with its iconic, high terracing, has 80 hectares, of which 40 ha. are planted with vines (including nine hectares of terraces plantes with old vines). The first wines produced there by Lima Smith are from the 2013 vintage, were produced in small batches using traditional, artisanal methods, were launched in 2016 under the brands of Quinta da Boavista and Boa Vista.

A second step in the D.O.C. Douro was taken shortly afterwards when the partners purchased the Quinta das Tecedeiras brand, formerly owned by the Global Wine/Dão Sul group. The first wines and superior olive oils from the property, which is leased to Lima Smith for 30 years, were launched in the final quarter of 2014.

The Investors

Marcelo Lima, a native of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, is shareholder of the Brazilian group Artesia, which has interests in several sectors and countries – from commercial refrigeration and fashion retail to banking.

Tony Smith is a British-born journalist-turned-wine-producer, a former foreign correspondent for The Associated Press and The New York Times, and more recently a media executive for Condé Nast International. He first came to Portugal in 1988 and has lived for several years in Portugal and Brazil. Since 2011, he has been heading up the Lima Smith partnership from Quinta de Covela.

Lima Smith

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