How the Port Wine benefício system works

Making Port Wine - fortification the must ofUm dos pontos mais importantes para perceber a engrenagem do Vinho do Porto é o sistema do benefício. Devido à sua complexidade, este tema é quase sempre um pedra no sapato daqueles que querem perceber melhor o funcionamento do Douro e do Vinho do Porto. Vamos tentar dar uma ideia do seu funcionamento.

Em 1756, o Marquês de Pombal delimitou pela primeira vez a região do Douro, afim de preservar a qualidade e a genuinidade dos vinhos produzidos. Mais tarde, em 1932, a Casa do Douro, uma associação de viticultores do Douro, teve a missão de cadastrar todas as parcelas de vinha do Douro. Surgiu então a questão de como preservar a qualidade e controlar a quantidade de Vinho do Porto produzida pelos vitivinicultores. Posteriormente, em 1948, com a informação recolhida durante as décadas anteriores e com os dados sobre a quantidade e qualidade das diferentes zonas do Douro, é instituído uma metodologia de classificação da parcelas, conhecida como Método de Pontuação de Moreira da Fonseca, a qual se baseia em 3 critérios principais: solo, clima e condições culturais. Cada um destes critérios é então dividido em quatro parâmetros:

Solo: natureza do terreno; pedregosidade; produtividade; declive.

Clima: localização; altitude; abrigo; exposição.

Condições culturais: castas; armação/condução; idade; compasso.

Cada vinha recebe uma pontuação para cada um destes parâmetros. A soma dos pontos obtidos em cada um dos parâmetros permite depois agrupar as vinhas em 6 grupos, classificando-os com uma letra, de A a F:

  • A – mais de 1200 pontos
  • B – de 1001 a 1200
  • C – de 801 a 1000
  • D – de 601 a 800
  • E – de 401 a 600
  • F – de 201 a 400
  • G – de 1 a 200
  • H – de -200 a 0
  • I – de -400 a -201

A quantidade total de Vinho do Porto a produzir é determinada anualmente pelo IVDP – Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto e está fortemente relacionada com as vendas e com os stocks existentes. Se as vendas aumentam a quantidade produzida de Vinho do Porto tende a aumentar, e o mesmo se houver uma quebra das vendas.

Quantidade de mosto generoso a fortificar, em litros por hectare, em 2010

  • A – 2.043
  • B – 2.010
  • C – 1.859
  • D – 1.818
  • E – 1.573
  • F – 684
  • G – 0
  • H – 0
  • I – 0

Em 2010 a produção total foi de 60.500.000 litros.

Depois de ser atingida a quota de Vinho do Porto, as uvas que restam são utilizadas para a produção de Vinho do Douro. No passado, as melhores uvas eram exclusivamente utilizadas para a produção de Vinho do Porto. Actualmente, procura-se um equilíbrio, utilizando-se uvas das melhores parcelas tanto para Vinho do Porto como para Vinho do Douro.

Assim, resumindo em poucas palavras o sistema do benefício, as parcelas de vinha da região demarcada do Douro estão todas classificadas sendo-lhes atribuida uma letra que irá determinar a quantidade de Vinho do Porto que se pode fazer em cada parcela, em função da quantidade autorizada anualmente, dependendo das vendas e dos excedentes dos anos anteriores.

Certamente que este artigo não esclareceu todas as suas questões sobre o beneficio. Deixe as suas dúvidas e assim podemos ajudar a esclarecer questões futuras de outros leitores.

Oscar

 

 

19 Comentários Added

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  1. Jamie Goode 22 22UTC Março 22UTC 2011 | reply
    So if you have beneficio, although it is tied to a vineyard, can you sell it as a piece of paper? Can port houses buy the beneficio from a grower and then not use the grower's grapes, but use more of their own grapes for port? And even if legally the beneficio has to be linked to the grapes, does this sort of thing happen?
    • Oscar Quevedo 22 22UTC Março 22UTC 2011 | reply
      Great point Jamie. Legally, the beneficio has to be linked to the grapes of the vineyard the beneficio comes from. But not always this is respected and it is sold as a piece of paper, as you say. Any winery that receives grapes in the Douro has to fill in a daily form and send it out to the IVDP with info about how many tonnes it received, from where in the Douro they are coming from, who is the owner and truck number. But you can still break the law with some imagination.
      • Angeliki Tsioli 20 20UTC Outubro 20UTC 2017 | reply
        What happens if a grower sells his beneficio rights to another grower or company? He is then not allowed to make port from his own grapes, but he may make still Douro wine, right? Independantly from the grade A to F of course. Then, the grades after F (G, H and I) are actually never or rarely given the chance to make any Port at all, right? Does that mean that the quality of the Douro wine made from these grades is the lowest? Thanks in advance :-)
        • quevedo 20 20UTC Outubro 20UTC 2017 | reply
          Hi Angeliki, two interesting questions. Yes, if he sells the rights and grapes to another company he won't be allowed to make Port. Regarding the question about the G, H and I letters, not necessary, as the system is based on red grapes grade. The white grapes tend to be better from higher altitude, this means lower grades, so it is possible to make great white wine from lower grades. This is a part of the system that was thought for red only and needs to be fixed.
          • quevedo 23 23UTC Outubro 23UTC 2017 |
            Hi Angeliki, the trading of Port production rights without the grapes is not legal. The licence to produce Port has to come with grapes, regardless whether the seller is a Douro wine producer or just a grape grower. Regarding the fact that it sounds unrealistic for the IVDP to do this every year, actually, that only had to do the classification based on the 12 criteria once. And they will need to do it every time someone replants that same plot. But they use the same data every year. In the end, if no new plantation was done, there would be no changes in the classification of the vineyard apart from being one year old (and this can, at some time increase a grade of classification as the older the vineyard the more points it gets). Hope this helped!
  2. Gunnar Ljunglof 22 22UTC Março 22UTC 2011 | reply
    Hi Oscar If the beneficio take cultural aspects, like age of the vines, varieties and vine training, into consideration, does this mean that the classification according to the beneficio will change over time? If you replant with other varieties this would mean another point value for the beneficio, right? How often are the beneficio recalculated? Within a fixed time interval or when deemed necessary?
    • Oscar Quevedo 22 22UTC Março 22UTC 2011 | reply
      Hi Gunnar, Yes, it changes over time and it is constantly updated. Any time there is an alteration in the vineyard like re-grafting, it must be communicated by the grower to the IVDP. Also, when the vineyard is over 25 years old, it automatically gets 30 more points and it may change rating/letter if in fits in a new range.
  3. Oscar Quevedo 22 22UTC Março 22UTC 2011 | reply
    thirstforwine via Twitter A great intro to the complex Port 'beneficio' system http://bit.ly/ejVrLZ < more on how it affects @quevedo wld be great :) Robert, benefício affect us in the sense that my family has been always focused on Port production, and every year we have several extra tonnes of grapes that we can't use for Port because we have reached the legal limit of Port production, and we have to make still wine with those grapes. This is not a bad thing if you create conditions at the winery to make Douro wine as well. But takes time. That's why we decided to launch these two new brands, Oscar's and Claudia's, so we don't have to sell the still wine of good quality at ridiculous low price. Actually, the idea to launch Oscar's wine is turning out to be a good decision, as it is selling well in countries like UK, US, Denmark, Holland, Norway or HK. And in April we are going to launch white and rose Oscar's as well.
  4. Miss Vicky Wine 25 25UTC Março 25UTC 2011 | reply
    Almost simple ;) Cheers Oscar !
  5. Joe Gates 26 26UTC Março 26UTC 2011 | reply
    hi Oscar, I was wondering if in great vintage Port years you have to make some table wine because of beneficio. Also,if you get more points for the age of the vines,why not points for the age of the vineyard owner,experience should count too!!
    • Oscar Quevedo 27 27UTC Março 27UTC 2011 | reply
      I'm with you Joe! This would be a great incentive for our grandparents to stay in business!!! Retirement age in the Douro would be only at 99!
  6. Rui Lourenço Pereira 29 29UTC Março 29UTC 2011 | reply
    Congratulations Óscar We've here a great explatanation of the "benefício" meaning. If you don't mind I'll use it on my blog with the reference to the source.
  7. Julien 16 16UTC Fevereiro 16UTC 2012 | reply
    Hi. First I have to thank you for this brillant website which is quite understable, even for a french student like me. I have a few questions the beneficio system. In fact, if I have understood, l'IVP controls quantity of wine every parcels can produce. But IVP doesn't decide which price graps can be sold. Am I right? Then, for exemple for a parcel A: a wine grower can produce 2043 L for each parcel A ? And then he can decide to sell it to companies in Gaia or sell it to a cooperative or produce his own Port? Sorry for my poor english. And thank you to make me understand better this beneficio system which is very complicated for strangers!
    • Anónimo 16 16UTC Fevereiro 16UTC 2012 | reply
       Hi Julien, thank you for your nice comments! The IVDP decides every year the quantity of Port Wine that can be produced from A to F grade parcels. So the production per hectare is similar for all A parcels. The grape grower can then decide if wants to make himself Port Wine or if he prefers to sell the grapes to a co-op or other companies, which must be located in the Douro. Let me know if you have any other question.
      • Julien 17 17UTC Fevereiro 17UTC 2012 | reply
         Hi. Thanks a lot for your such an quick answer and for proposing your help! I will continue my research and try to make order in the huge number of documents I have in french, english or portuguese... Then I 'll probably ask you a few question at one time in order waste too much of your time! Thank you again.
        • Julien 25 25UTC Fevereiro 25UTC 2012 | reply
           Hi. I worked these days and I found quite a lot of informations. But I have got even more questions than before! In order to not take too much of your time I'll ask only ones which are linked with Beneficio. Moreover, it could be a fine source of informations for others readers. So, A parcel "A" can only produce 2044L/ha. It's really the weakest I saw. Especially because I saw grape grower have really little territory. Is the price of grapes from each parcel category free? can you give me an exemple of how much a liter is selling ?I saw IVDP have parcels too, and that they can sell grapes. Is it their main source of revenu?or does a system of subscription exist? When ICDP makes a decision, that is what is required for the entire sector?Thank you!
          • Oscar 25 25UTC Fevereiro 25UTC 2012 |
            Hi Julien, yes, grapes from different grade parcels trade at different prices. "A" grade is the most expensive, with prices varying from 2 - 2.20 euros. The IVDP has no vineyards, they just control, certify and determine the volume of Port produced every harvest. All decisions taken by the IVDP apply to all producers. I hope I've answered all your questions. Let me know if you have more. Oscar
          • Julien 26 26UTC Fevereiro 26UTC 2012 |
             Hi Oscar Ok, so the sell of grap have a determined price. But I think merchant buy finished wine too. For this wine IVDP doesn't chose a price like for graps. Am I right? Last question, 2-2.20 euros, is it for 1 kg of graps? Thank you again for your help!

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