Sunday, October 19, 2008

Portuguese Wine Made in Prison

Who would have though that wine made by prisoners in Portugal could become so popular?

The Pinheiro da Cruz jail in southern Portugal has its own vineyards and prisoners do much of the work. This does not appear to be a particularly onerous prison as inmates may often work unsupervised in the fields. This is not a new endeavor and in fact originated in the 1950s as a form of hard labor. But now it has become more of a reward for model prisoners.

Each year, they produce about 25,000 liters of red wine and 5,000 liters of white, with revenues worth approximately 100,000 euros. Their wine sells for more than $40 U.S. in Portuguese restaurants. The prisoners earn about 2.2 euros a day working in the vineyards. One of the names for their wine is Eleuterio.

Sadly, this is likely a wine that is only available in Portugal. If anyone knows whether it is available elsewhere, I would be very interested.

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