In 1942, Fernando van Zeller Guedes, owner of Sociedade Comercial dos Grandes Vinhos de Mesa de Portugal – now known as Sogrape – was confronted with a problem: World War II had hampered sales in Europe. His solution was to target Brazil with a totally new wine produced in the Vinho Verde region, but not in the red or white styles that were traditional there. If the pink colour was a novelty, so were its light, fresh, gently off-dry flavour and the bottle’s shape, based on soldiers’ hip flasks and the classic German Bocksbeutel.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Mateus introduced millions of people to wine. Bottles were used in countless homes as candlesticks and empty old examples now sell online for $700.00. More recently, “we found the need to make the brand more contemporary and appealing”, said João Gomes da Silva, Sogrape’s director of marketing and sales. White and sparkling versions have been introduced and the iconic glass bottle has changed hue from green to clear glass. Today, Mateus Rose sells more than 20m bottles in 125 countries, benefitting from the pink wine boom by promoting itself as “a Rosé with attitude”.