Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Monday, 10 September 2018

Spécial Cavistes/Wine shops (1): A vinous treasure trove in Lisbon

This post was originally published on Les 5 du Vin as part of our special series on independent wine shops.

Garrafeira Campo de Ourique 


Brief description:The Garrafeira Campo de Ourique is a fairly small shop but crammed from floor to ceiling with a huge range of wines and spirits. Their wonderfully cluttered shop is a remarkable treasure trove of mainly Portuguese wines and not just recent vintages but some older ones too. In Portugal, with the exception of Port and Madeira, it can be difficult to find old vintages. Here, however, the Santos family make a point of being able to offer some mature wines.
Campo de Ourique is a well-established fashionable suburb around three kilometres to the north west of the centre of Lisbon. The Garrafeira is not far from the western terminus of the famous 28 Tram, which is at the entrance to the Prazeres Cemetery, where many of the famous are buried including the legendary Fado singer Amália Rodrigues.
It is also close to the revamped Mercado Campo de Ourique.
Arlindo and Mafalda Santos
Name: Garrafeira Campo de Ourique

Address etc: R. Tomás da Anunciação 29 A, 1350-322 Lisboa, Portugal
Tel: +351 21 397 3494
Buying site: Mr Santos Wine House:
Founded:   in 1988 by Arlindo Santos
Now run by: Arlindo Santos and his daughter – Mafalda Santos
Employees: 4
Products sold 
Total range: 5500
Wines – still and sparkling: 4000
Sparkling: 100
Fortified wines: 1000 – mainly Port and Madeira
Spirits: 500
Beers – now stocking a small range of beers from three small breweries.
Other products: corkscrews and glasses – Schott Zwiesel.
Mafalda comments that they do not have enough space to show everything in their cramped shop.
Further details of wines sold:
By country:

The Douro is the most popular followed by Lisboa and the Alentejo.

Mafalda reports that they are now selling a lot of Dão with demand also for Bairrada and Sétubal. The Garrafeira is quite unusual in offering old vintages of still wines back to at least 1988.
Although about 90% of the stock is Portuguese but the range of wines from outside is expanding. Now includes not just wines from other parts of Europe, especially France, Spain and Italy but some from Chile, Argentina, USA, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. From the latter I noticed Nine Popes and a Wynn’s Coonawarra displayed.
Sparkling wines: there is a good selection of Portuguese sparkling wines. Their Champagne comes from family owned Bauget-Jouette in Epernay with whom they have been dealing for 23 years. ( Their Spanish offer comes from Juve-Campos, Freixenet and Codorniu.

What prompted Arlindo to open an independent wine shop?
Arlindo Santos already had the delicatessen grocery store across the road. When this site became vacant in 1988 he decided to buy it and set up a wine shop. Mafalda started working with her father part-time in 1997 joining full-time in 2000.
How has your wine offer changed over the last decade?“We are seeing a lot more wine brands (in the widest sense) and many more producers – a lot of new wine producers. Also we now stock many more white wines and our offer of wines from outside Portugal has increased.”
In contrast overall spirits have declined a lot. Arlindo and Mafalda like Malt Whisky and sales continue to be good. “I think the Gin fever is slowing down,” adds Mafalda. “Aguardente, however, is important.”
Has the profile of your clients changed – by age, by sex?Our customer profile has become younger with an increasing number of young 20-something clients. Previously we had a mainly older clientele and younger people used to come in just to buy wine as a gift. Now as soon as young people have money they become regular wine buyers. Our clients are mainly male – 75%.”
Do your customers ask for advice? If so, what sort of advice? 
“Our customers ask for advice all the time,” says Mafalfa. “They ask for suggestions on what wines to buy and also on pairing wines with the food they are planning to eat. Sometimes we suggest red wine with fish.” Fish, especially grilled and salt cod, is very popular in Portugal.
“We don’t run wine classes, although we have had offers and plans to do so but it is a question of just not having the time. May be in the future.”
What about competition from supermarkets?
Although there are three supermarkets within a radius of about a mile, Mafalda doesn’t believe that they are in competition with the supermarkets. “We appeal to a different type of customer within a different range of wines. Nor are we more expensive than the supermarkets as we have wines from 4 € upwards. Furthermore we work directly with producers and avoid supermarket brands.”
Only one of the nearby supermarkets – Jumbo in the Amoreiras centre has a substantial wine offer and theirs is only fraction of the range that the Garrafeira carries. The other two – Continente and Pingo Doce – have a very limited range that is largely confined to cheap wines. Mafalda tells the story of a woman who came in recently and who was surprised that she could buy a wine for 4€ as well as getting advice on what to buy. “Why have I been buying wine from supermarkets all this time?” she exclaimed.
What wines sell best from your range?
“In the Lisbon region (formerly called Estremadura) Quinta do Rol ( sells well. Our range includes vintages back to 2006 along with their Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc varietals that are released when they are ready.”
In the Douro the Garrafeira has long stocked the excellent wines from Alves de Sousa ( They also sell a lot of Niepoort’s Charme and from Quinta Vale D. Maria (, which Cristiano van Zeller sold last year to Aveleda. Another popular Douro reference is Quinta do Pessegueiro (
Regarding sparkling wines have sales increased with the increased democratisation of fizz through Cava, Prosecco and Crémants?“Our sparkling wine sales are increasing thankfully. Something is happening. People used to buy sparkling wine only for a special occasion now with some people choosing a sparkling wine from time to time for an aperitif instead of a white wine. We don’t stock any Crémant but we do have one regular customer for Prosecco, who uses it to make a spritz. I think Prosecco is a question of fashion.”
What do you think of the fashion for organic wines? have you increased your organic range?
Mafalda reports that there has been long been a demand for organic wines. However, this demand is definitely increasing. Now their clients are also asking for natural and over the past year – vegan wines. Mafalda is keen on wines with low or no So2 as she suffers from headaches from certain wines with too much sulphur, so this is an important consideration for her. “It is good for winemakers to have this discipline – there is no need to add lots of sulphur,” she says adding “I haven’t tasted a ‘natural’ wine that I like.”
Do you taste wines and how/where? 
Arlindo and Mafalda taste wines both in their shop and at wine fairs. “There is always something new to try,” says Mafalda.
How do you see the future for independent wine shops? 
After several false starts with web developers who promised much and then failed to deliver, the Santos now have their own website. “We launched about two months ago. We can sell on-line both in Portugal and outside. We have always offered the option of shipping but this is different as it gives us the possibility of widening our clientele.”

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