João Portugal Ramos is Portugal's most famous winemaker. Before he began making his own wines, he was a pioneering wine consultant widely considered Portugal's Pierro Antinori or Emile Peynaud (The New York Times). His many accolades include winning 2010 Personality of the Year and 2006 Producer of the Year (Essencia do Vinho); 2010 Viticulture Team of the Year, 2000 Winemaker of the Year, and 1998 Company of the Year (Revista de Vinhos); 1999 & 2004 Winemaker of the Year and 2004 Producer of the Year (Vin & Mat, Sweden); 2004 Newcomer of the Year (Wein Gourmet, Germany); and the 2008 Prize for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (Portuguese Ministry of Agriculture).
In the decades that Ramos has consulted, he almost single-handedly opened Portuguese winemaking to the benefits of modern technologies with an emphasis on low yields, occasional oak aging, and the preservation of a grape's natural fruit flavors. In 1990, he decided it was time to start creating his own wine and he began planting vineyards in Alentejo around his new winery, Vila Santa.