The passion of Jorge Böhm for Portugal has a long history. It was in 1961 that he first came to Portugal as a student aboard the windjammer Prosper d'Étel, an old refurbished tuna fishing boat. By 1969 he had become the largest importer of Portuguese wines in Germany, and he visited Portugal regularly. In 1976, Jorge Böhm became the first foreigner to create a wine export firm in post-revolutionary Portugal, and it was only a few years later that he submitted a proposal to the Portuguese government on the breeding and certification of grapevine material.
Professional work in viticulture must be based on solid technical expertise, which often has to be renewed and developed further in persistent pursuit of even better alternatives. Quinta da PLANSEL stands firmly behind constantly promoting exchanges of experience within the spheres of international scientific progress and cultural excellence. By the same token, it remains outspoken against the lack of tolerance for innovative ideas, particularly in respect of attempts to preserve elitist academic approaches in this scientific and professional discipline. As a result of our targeted efforts, our grapevine varieties were the first to be officially recognized in Portugal, and have also gained certified recognition in advanced wine-growing countries in the new world of wine. The reason is simple: The grapevines achieve a high standard of sanitary selection, and the quality of the wine produced as a result is particularly good. One constant source of motivation and enthusiasm for us and our customers is the good performance of the reference grapevine varieties Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Barroca in international competition. Apart from our strong sense of professional commitment, we have always focused on creating as much employment as possible. PLANSEL has been the largest single employer in Montemor for the last 25 years.
When importing Portuguese wines in the 1970s, it was obvious that there were some table wines, normally produced in small quantities, which were of excellent quality. The quality of wines subsequently purchased in bulk, however, was lower.
Research into the matter undertaken at the Geisenheim Research Center's grapevine breeding department found the cause. Upon closer examination, it was discovered that virus-infected rootstock introduced from France was causing degeneration in the Portuguese grapevine varieties. Because there had been no conservation breeding (clonal or mass selection) of the old varieties, they had simply no longer been planted. Planting of the traditional quality grapevine varieties was no longer profitable for viticulturalist, so they replaced them with high-yielding varieties. This situation was the catalyst of a commercially viable business idea. In cooperation with the University of Geisenheim, the University of´Évora and the national Agricultural Research Station in Oeiras, Jorge Böhm devoted himself to the certification of the traditional autochthonous Portuguese grapevine varieties. Today, one could well say that the fundamental research done in the 1980s on grapevine varieties contributed to the later success both in Portugal and abroad of the wines produced at Quinta da PLANSEL.
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