Niepoort has been a family business since 1842. Through five generations, the business has passed successfully from one Niepoort to the next and, in most cases, older and younger generation worked side by side for a long time. Dirk van der Niepoort is currently the fifth generation to lead the family company, but Dirk’s eldest son, Daniel, has also already joined the business.
Dirk’s fascination for wine is second to none. Surprisingly, he has no traditional oenological training. Instead, he uses intuition and experience to produce the famous red, white and port wines of the Niepoort winery. His passion has led him to create a new series of fabulous table wines (Niepoort Vinho Verde, Niepoort Dao Tinto).
Up to 1987, Niepoort was a classic port wine dealer: the base wines were bought from winegrowers in the Douro, nurtured and matured, then blended and marketed from the company wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, Oporto. Dirk wanted to grow his own grapes and make his wine using the traditional ways (foot-treading in lagares)–an expensive way to do maceration of the grapes.
He bought the Quinta de Nápoles in the Cima Corgo sub-region on the left bank of the Tedo, a tributary of the Douro Valley. This is an ancient holding, documented as early as 1496, and thus one of the oldest properties in the area. He also bought the Quinta do Carril, just above the Quinta de Nápoles. Niepoort was able to preserve 10 hectares of vines but needed to replant an additional 15 hectares. After a somewhat difficult start, Niepoort now produces table wines of the hightest quality.