Not only do you write well, you get the facts straight!
Mateus Nicolau de Almeida
Winemaker, Muxagat Vinhos Lda.
Learn more about some of my projects, and follow the links to visit the sites or content described.
Francisco Javier de Olazabal has written a history of the Quinta do Vale Meão which has come to him from his great-great-grandmother, Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira. Since 1999 with his son Francisco as winemaker, Quinta do Vale Meão’s wines are among the most highly regarded Douro DOC wines today. Senhor Olazabal’s book was published in 2015 with a fully bi-lingual text, for which I provided the English translation. Read an excerpt from the Quinta do Vale Meão book (PDF download 16MB) and see the stunning Quinta do Vale Meão book cover (PDF download 6 MB).
Miles Away is a bespoke tour operator focussed on showing small groups the best of the Douro and Côa Valleys. The site has been beautifully designed and presented, and I am very proud to have been asked to provide the English translations for this wonderful and unique tourism venture. Visit the English version of the Miles Away site.
Cantinho das Aromáticas is an organic producer of dried herbs, with a wonderful range of own-brand seasonings and herbal infusions. When their Reserve Lot Infusions won Gold and Silver medals at The Great Taste Awards in London, they decided the time was right to push their marketing efforts in the English speaking markets. I have worked with them on translations for a range of marketing, packaging and on-line texts. Visit the Cantinho das Aromáticas website, and visit their beautiful farm in Vila Nova de Gaia if you can.
Douro Prime, a small producer of excellent Douro DOC wines, needed a simple, affordable corporate website that they could easily administer and maintain themselves. I created a site for them based on WordPress.com, wrote English translations for all their content, re-designed and translated their wine tech sheets, and am coaching and assisting the partners to manage the site. Visit the Douro Prime website.
I consulted on the 2014 re-design of Roy Hersh’s For The Love Of Port, the premier on-line resource for information on Port wines and the trade, and contributed blog content, reporting from Porto and the Douro with a particular focus on the viticultural year and visits to Douro winemakers at their quintas.
The Lycée Français International de Porto was updating their basic brochure and needed help revising a preliminary English translation. I wrote the final English translation based on French and Portuguese texts and reviewed and edited proofs of the brochure before it was passed to the printer. See an on-line version of the Lycée Français International de Porto brochure.
From July 2010 through Harvest 2012 I re-designed, wrote and administered Symington Family Estates’ Graham’s Port Blog. See a selection of Graham’s Blog content by Cynthia here but many more articles were authored by me under the Graham’s ID, so the list returned by this link will not be complete. I wrote over 280 articles during my tenure.
- By October 2010, after just 3 months, visits had increased and stabilised at a level more than four times the readership prior to re-launch. Readership continued to grow steadily until I handed off the blog to colleagues in 2012.
- My article about The Most Beautiful 5K In The World through Symington quintas in the Douro was featured on the front page of WordPress, bringing more than 5000 visits in two days, over 50 comments and many new readers and subscribers.
- Beginning in late 2010, I was solely responsible for the re-design of The Vintage Port Site, working with A Transformadora as designers and technical support from Miguel Filipe Tavares (now with 4 Ventos). I wrote all content except the viticultural articles and researched and populated the Knowledge Base with all Vintage Ports from SFE brands from 1945 to the present with critics’ notes, as the contents of the prior site had been wholly lost. The site was re-launched May 2011 to great success.
- I continued to administer and write regularly for the site, establishing a blog which focussed on all SFE brands except Graham’s, and answering personally all the “Ask the Expert” queries, with research support from SFE staff.
- In July 2012 we launched a mobile version of The Vintage Port Site – not an application to download, but a version of the site which automatically appeared when you entered from a mobile device, which focussed on putting the Knowledge Base content at your fingertips, any time, any where.
- In June 2013 I expanded the content of the Knowledge Base back to 1889, to a total of nearly 300 Vintage Ports with 800 tasting notes from top critics and 122 Harvest Reports for every year from 1889 to 2011.
Some examples of my writing in various styles on various subjects:
I chronicled my work cutting grapes in Vosne Romanée in 2008 and again in 2009. The first year I focussed on my learning experience (see 27 September) and the second year on the life of the harvest and some wonderful meals (for example Harvest Day Three), but during both seasons I meticulously reported on conditions and the progress of the harvest generally in the region. In 2009 a Burgundy lover posted the link to my reporting on the e-Robert Parker forum, from which it got passed to many other specialist Burgundy sites. I gained thousands of readers overnight, many of whom continue to follow me.
Making technical or purely factual information appealing can be a challenge. The first half of my article here about Quinta de Ervamoira is a good example of a concise and interesting introduction to the history and geography of the Douro which makes for compelling reading. Similarly, I wrote a concise introduction to Douro geography and weather patterns in my article Weather in the Douro, published on For The Love Of Port. Another example of entertaining writing to explain a complex issue is an article on Picking Order, published on the Graham’s Blog. On The Vintage Port Site my article on The Lifecycle of Vintage Port in Bottle is a unique reference helping readers decide when to drink their Port.
I love to bring the reader along with me when I visit winemaking properties to meet the winemaker, learn more about the winemaking venture and explore the property. Examples include visits to Muxagat Vinhos and Cortes de Cima here on Wine, Woman, Travel, and on For The Love of Port you can join me on visits to Quinta da Boavista and Morgadio da Calçada among others.
Food, wine, fun: A couple of epic meals and their accompanying wines as well as approaches to food pairing are described in A Sunday Lunch Lesson in Food Pairing, and Wine Matching with Mughal Cuisine. My personal travails preparing my first bacalhau took 5 posts to adequately describe, beginning with The Great Bacalhau Experiment.
I have written about blogging for the website One Cool Site Blogging Tips – one of the most referenced and most popular blogs about blogging. Read my contributions How a Dream Blogging Job Found Me, which describes the role social media played in launching my writing career, and Writing Is Not Blogging, on blogging for results: search engine ranking and devoted followers.