March 8, 2011

International Women Day: Ferreirinha, a notorious Portuguese woman

8th Marh is International Women Day. I wanted to post about Portuguese notorious women. I know by heart the names of pioneer women who fought for women rights in Portugal. I also admire some Portuguese women painters and poetry writers. But I thought it all would be tedious in the end for my readers. So I decided to pick just one: Antónia Adelaide Ferreira, Portuguese vineyard manager. She was born in 1811 into a wealthy family in the North. She’s an example of entrepreneurship. She was passionate, she had vision, she searched perfection and she treated workers with respect. She’s an example for both, men and women. She dedicated her life to the cultivation of Port wine and introduced notable innovations. Her first husband was not interested in wine cultivation. After his death she changed into a complete and insightful businesswoman. She was affectionately known as “Ferreirinha”. Besides being into business she cared about workers and their families. She helped poor families from Douro region and many called her Mother of the Poor. She re-married and her second husband helped her in her vineyard business. But he also died. She was 33 years old and had two children. At the time Government did not support wine cultivation and prefer to buy wine from other countries. She went to England to learn more about wines and better ways to fight the vines disease, the phylloxera. There she acknowledged that some American vines roots are immune to attack by phylloxera. Those vines were immune to the disease. Therefore, to achieve success in planting vineyards, the European varieties must be grafted onto American roots. And she did it. Quinta do Vesúvio was the name of her most famous rural property. The winery exported mostly to the UK. Once she almost died when a boat sinked in Douro's river. It seems she managed to float due to the big rounded skirts and thus was saved. She died in 1896 and left considerable fortune and cultivated land in the Douro Region.  Casa Ferreirinha is still a reference in Portuguese wines. The video belongs to a TV series depicting Ferreirinha's life.

More about Ferreirinha ( Portuguese language)
http://www.vidaslusofonas.pt/aferreirinha.htm


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