For this exceptional limited-edition port, Quinta Vale D. Maria highlighted Portugeuse expertise from harvest and design to the production of the coffret.
After completing her studies in agricultural engineering in the early 2000s, Rita Rivotti changed course to pursue her “true passion”— the arts—and shortly afterwards founded her eponymous design agency in Lisbon. Over the years, the agency has specialized in wines and spirits, a sector that today makes up 90% of its business.
“When we first opened, design was not a priority for Portuguese winemakers, it was actually the least of their concerns. But that has changed with the segment’s growth in international markets and today design is an integral part of local brands’ strategies,” notes Rivotti.
It was for the Port segment that the agency carried out an exceptional project last year: a limited edition coffret called “1969” for Quinta Vale D. Maria, a modest vineyard nestled in the Douro Valley owned by Aveleda Group. “1969 proved to be an exceptional vintage and it deserved packaging that would reflect this,” explains the designer.
The coffret, made by Portugeuse manufacturer Aéme, encloses a bottle and a booklet on the vintage. Made entirely of oak, the wood is reminiscent of the barrels used to age the port in the region. On the facing, a brushed brass plaque (also produced by Aéme) displays the year of the harvest—the number 1969 is cut out of the material—with the brand’s logo silkscreened in black. The stencil style of the number 1969 is a nod to the harvest years that are systematically painted on each barrel in white—“an ancestral technique that is still used today,” notes Rivotti.
The bottle, the HG Egg model from Estal’s High Glass collection in extra flint glass, reveals the soft amber color of the port in transparency. It features rounded shoulders and a heavy glass base with an embossed aluminum band around the neck. Produced by Portuguese company VOX, the band is painted in a transparent yellow hue that imparts a golden finish to the aluminum. The thin vertical label in textured cotton (Manter) is fixed at the bottom by an embossed aluminum medallion. The bottle is topped with a cap from Amorim’s Top Series collection engraved with the brand’s name.
In response to the question of where she found her inspiration for this project—beyond the Douro’s age-old winemaking rituals—Rivotti quipped that creation is not rational. “The meaning of a project often comes at the end of the design process and you can’t always explain why you made one aesthetic choice over another.”