Porto Ferreira, one of the oldest Port wine houses will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo with an unprecedented charity auction by Sotheby’s at the Tower of London, UK on Thursday 7th May 2015. The lots include several extraordinary Vintage Ports and an exceptionally rare bottle: the Porto Ferreira Vintage 1815, the year that marks the moment when Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington, commanded the British armies to their victory at the battle of Waterloo.
The Porto Ferreira Vintage 1815 shares a rich history with Britain, as do the origins of the Portuguese fortified wine. Made in 1815, the wine honoured Wellington’s triumphant military victory ending the Napoleonic era, so much so that the English renamed it the “Waterloo Vintage”. The relationship between Porto Ferreira and London grew the same year when António Bernardo Ferreira sold 700 barrels of Port Wine to Butler Tyndale and initiated contact with Joaquim Máximo Virginiano, resident in London, to take on the role of agent. Later in 1826, Wellington was appointed Constable of the Tower of London, the location where the auction will take place.
The fascinating wine was harvested in 1815 and bottled some years later. Tasting notes from 1990 reveal that it has an intensely spicy aroma (cinnamon, pepper and ginger), hints of exotic woods, iodine and wax. Lively on the palate with good acidity balanced by residual sugars, it is dominated by dry fruits, possessing a balanced and lasting after taste. We owe its survival to legendary Ferreira heir, Dona Antónia Ferreira who was renowned for her visionary business sense as well as for her philanthropy. She restored Ferreira’s vineyards after the phylloxera pest and was known to share her wealth with the poorest and disadvantaged of the Douro region. Dona Antónia also ensured the safeguarding of exceptional quality Ferreira Vintage Port bottles by creating and nurturing a precious wine cellar including the most renowned harvests. She foresaw the importance of heritage looking at future generations before anybody in the Port industry.
Two hundred years later, Porto Ferreira today presents a unique auction for a wine of historic importance, paying tribute to those who ensured its permanence all the way to the present day – all in benefit of a charity.
Fernando Guedes, CEO of Sogrape, the family wine company that owns since 1987, says that “We’re all very excited to be auctioning off this exclusive bottle, which has been ageing in our cellars since 1815, for a good cause. We will only auction this one bottle worldwide, uniquely suited to celebrate the historic anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo – and will hopefully be a memorable event in itself!”