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It was back in 1993; Ricardo de Freitas’ first vintage in his Grandfather’s shoes, that Barbeito became the first Madeira shipper to stop supplying in bulk. Since then, Ricardo has cranked up the quality year by year, to now be the most talked about player on the island, despite being one of the relative minnows. The first to stop using the despised caramel completely; the first to bottle Single Cask wines; the first to put vintage frasqueira into 50cls; the first Madeira producer to win a Jury Decouvertes at Vinexpo; the first to take Tinta Negra Mole so seriously as to treat it like the finest noble variety – and get similar quality results! And not forgetting, Barbeito were also the first and so far only Madeira producer, to bottle a 20 Year Old, to huge critical acclaim, and now latterly the first to bottle a 30 Year Old. Does it end there? Of course not. Barbeito's spectacular new winery is now complete, and Ricardo has been the first on the island to use robotic lagares! Fear not, this is where automation begins and ends in this handcraft centred company.
Overall Fortified Wine Trophy at the International Wine Challenge 2009 (as well as winning the Verdelho Trophy and Overall Madeira Trophy).