As Brazilian wine importers, Go Brazil supplies the trade with wines from Sanjo Cooperativa Agrícola de São Joaquim. Arriving in the city of Florianópolis, both an island and the bustling state capital of Santa Catarina, it is hard to believe that you are just several hours drive from a region which regularly record Brazil’s lowest temperatures ( around -18C ! ). However, once on the mainland and heading due west, the road immediately climbs. It is a spectacular drive, with endless hairpin bends and great views back down across lush tropical valleys. At around 1000m the vegetation becomes noticeably sparser, and the air cooler. Depending on the time of year you may encounter fog, frost, ice or snow, and an upland landscape which is far from the typical image of Brazil.
Founded in the 1993, Sanjo is a co-operative located in the town of São Joaquim in the mountainous southeast of Santa Catarina state, employing around 300 workers. Many of the company’s 34 founders are Japanese immigrants, or descendants of Japanese immigrant families.
Geographically and commercially, São Joaquim lies at the heart of Brazil’s apple-growing industry: in fact, driving through the surrounding hills, virtually all you see is apple trees… And, appropriately enough, Sanjo is a leading player in the country’s market for apple juice and related products.
However it was in 2002, after extensive soil and climate analysis, and a substantial investment in modern winemaking equipment, that Sanjo established a winery to the north of its São Jaoquim HQ. Further investment in 2011 resulted in a vertically integrated facility, with a cellar capable of storing 1m bottles.
The 30 hectare vineyard, which employs 25, is unusual for being situated at an altitude of between 1100-1400m ( approx. 3600-4600’ ), and experiencing very wide temperature variation. These factors result in a long growing season and the resulting wines are renowned for their fine, delicate aromas, with only moderate levels of alcohol.
Given these conditions, the harvest in the Serra Catarinense, as the region is known, does not normally take place until March or even April, at least a month later than would be expected in the more southerly state of Rio Grande do Sul. Although snow and frosts are common, perhaps the biggest danger to the crop is hail: consequently, many of the vines are covered in protective netting.
Go Brazil was the first UK company to import a 100% single varietal Sauvignon Blanc from Brazil and now, in March 2015, we are proud to launch in the UK the only single varietal Brazilian Malbec – both of which are sourced from Sanjo. Look out too for our new Sanjo Brazilian Cabernet Sauvignon and a lovely, understated semi-sweet sparkling Moscato!
Reflecting a long established tradition of Japanese agronomy in Brazil, the Sanjo range of wines is at once intriguing and impressive.
How to Buy
Brazilian wine by Sanjo can be collected by arrangement from our bonded storage facility in London.