Hugo Mendes

  • Winery
I was trained in Biotechnology Engineering and my focus was starting an investigation career. I wanted to discover the cure to cancer disease. That never happened as you can imagine and my investigation career died before it started. That happened because I worked as a cellar rat in a winery during the vintage season. I fell in love with this world and… in 2004 I started a path, first as a cellar rat, then as a junior winemaker… a senior winemaker and… finally wine producer.

About the project
In 2016, after 11 years of making wine for others, I decided to create my own brand. The reason was simple. I like to create profiles, test different techniques, interpret terroirs and study grape varieties. The producers I was working with entered in a kind of “cruise mode”, the profiles were closed and I could not create new things, new wines, new approaches.

Besides that, I love the idea that all regions have the right wines, we just need to interpret the grapes and let the wine appear.
So I started with one wine (Hugo Mendes Lisboa 2016), but I have nothing of my own. I did not have a winery, vineyards… nothing (still don´t). So I decided to search for grapes that suit my purpose. I found them and made the wine in a friend's winery (I had to buy two 1000L tanks because they work with big volumes).

I loved the wine immediately, but once again… I had no money to bottle it, so I decided to create crowdfunding to finance the bottling. Luckily it was a success and, from the 800 bottles I needed to sell in order to pay everything I managed to sell 877.
From there, the project grew, based on this link with the final consumer in a small group I call “Clube de Patronos” (Patron Club). To a better understanding, think in “Naked Wines”, the idea came from there, but… till now, the wines funded still are mine only.
Every year I have new wines, small batches of 1000 or less bottles, some that are “one time only” productions and others to have continuity. Basically, I divided the wines in two brands:

Hugo Mendes - The wines in this brand are all interpretations of terroir. Normally these are the wines that have continuity and bigger volumes (2000 to 8000 bt).

Underdog -  Here we can find three types of wine. My wildest experiences and the wine that are not terroir expressions. The Third type is some wines I find lost in the wineries I visit and I believe they are worth a chance in the wine lover tables.
Every Underdog has an exclusive label that originated from an original art made from an “underdog artist”, someone who I  recognize talent but is not using his/her artist skills in a professional way.

As you can see by now, I do love making wines, but my project is not only about wines, neither the wines I make. I like the idea of independent producers to be the ones that study and transform the wine regions they are in. So, in the near future, I will help to give birth to new independent winemakers. This project will be called “Underdog Winemaker” and I intend to, with the help of my Clube de Patronos, finance the first steps of these new producers.


Hugo Mendes White 2018
Hugo Mendes Fernao Pires White 2018
Hugo Mendes Vital White 2018
Chocapalha Vinha Mae Red 2015
Quinta do Pinto Grande Escolha Red 2013
Horacio Simoes Moscatel Roxo de Setubal 2013 (Dessert)