An unusual couple of entrepreneurs is seeking ‘new blood’ to take a simple yet extraordinary project to assured success.
Nick and Stella Downs have been working for years on perfecting unadulterated, chemical free Silves Orange Wine – an 18% proof delight that can be taken ‘straight’ as a digestif, or diluted to pass as a very acceptable table wine.
Their source – the often ‘left-to-rot-on-the-ground’ oranges in Silves’ Odelouca valley.
When the couple first arrived in the Algarve, they thought the local council would leap at the chance of encouraging such a cottage industry on its turf, and provide them with the necessary permissions.
Sadly this was not the case.
To be diplomatic, Nick, 83, says he now “restricts business with Silves Câmara to what is totally unavoidable”.
In the meantime, Portimão council has informed the octogenarian and his younger partner Stella, 74, that a restaurant could avoid the pitfalls that they fell headlong into trying to establish a winery at the back of their property in Dobra.
The problem now is that neither feel ‘young enough’ to take Silves Orange Wine much further – though both continue to enjoy it at every mealtime.
“Orders are in the pipeline”, explains Nick, a former commercial fruit wines producer in the UK. “We even have a large hotel chain interested. But age waits for no-one. We’re keeping fit, but lack the strength and have started needing a good snooze after lunch. It’s time to pass on the baton”.
The pair hope the “favourable terms offered by the government” for younger retirees settling in Portugal might bring in enthusiasm from overseas. Otherwise, it’s a case of trying to persuade people here that there is an exciting new business ‘all set up and raring to go’ with as yet no competition on the horizon.
Nick and Stella say they would be delighted to hand on their knowledge and expertise in return for a small share of what the future brings.
“The specific technology is available in a 756 page tome entitled SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY OF FRUIT WINE PRODUCTION (Kosseva, Joshi and Panesar) which will be with our equipment when we sell”, Nick added. “We have other books on the same subject, a willing and enthusiastic outside laboratory, help and cooperation from traditional winemakers… all in all, we’re thinking it’s time for someone to help Portugal take the lead in Southern Europe for a change.
Anyone interested should contact the Downs’ on: [email protected]