MUST – Fermenting Ideas is a wine summit like no other, created by two founders who share a passion for wine and a vision for bringing the entire industry together to shape its future.

Rui Falcão is undeniably one of the most respected wine critics in Portugal who has built a career as an international consultant, writer, columnist and speaker. Known all over the world for his expertise in international wine markets, Rui will be sharing some of it in a keynote at MUST – Fermenting Ideas.

Paulo Salvador may be working behind the scenes while putting together this event but he can often be found in front of the camera. As a journalist, presenter and the Executive Editor of Portuguese TV channel TVI, Paulo has had a prestigious career in Media. He is a recognized public figure and food enthusiast who has won many awards in this field.

We’re familiar with the expertise, but when we sat down with both of them for a brief interview, we discovered strong personalities and a true friendship bond behind the event.

We already know the backstory of how MUST – Fermenting Ideas came to life over a bottle of Madeira. But how did your friendship start and evolve over the years leading up to you two sharing that bottle and deciding to work together?

Paulo: Surprisingly (or not!), our friendship started because of wine. Between winemakers and producers, we have many friends in common and when we share an interest, it’s easy to “ferment” new relationships. That’s what happened!

Rui: To tell you the truth, I can’t recall a specific date but, like Paulo said, it’s only natural when you work in the same field – food and wine journalism – that eventually you end up meeting. I believe it was Dora Simões (one of our panel moderators at MUST – Fermenting Ideas) who first introduced us. Then came the group activities with friends, dinners, home visits and shared interests that cemented that friendship. One of them was stand-up paddle in the cold waters of Cascais. We spent a lot of time out in the sea and on a board discussing life until we had an invitation from the Municipality of Cascais to host an event. The first draft was put together in an afternoon turned into a late night…

How about your personal relationship with wine? What has your journey been like since you first discovered this passion?

Rui: It started as a hobby and then turned into an interest so strong that it inspired me to launch a website with a discussion board like no other in Portugal. It was the first movement outside traditional media dedicated to this subject. I was lucky enough it became so successful that I was invited to co-author a wine guide called “Os5às8”. In time, this would become my full time job and nowadays I still have that same passion. The responsibility however is greater than ever, but so is my pleasure.

Paulo: What brought me to wine was gastronomy, my personal and professional passion. As I began to learn more and more about it from friends and professionals, my curiosity for this incredible world of wine kept growing. It’s such an essential part of gastronomy and human History!

Still in its infancy with the 2nd edition coming up in June, MUST – Fermenting Ideas has already become one of the most relevant events in the wine industry. Where would you like to take it from here? What kind of future do you envision for the wine summit in the long run?

Rui: We want MUST – Fermenting Ideas to become “THE” place where the future of the wine world is debated. A forum of discussion about subjects that affect our entire industry from areas like wine tourism, trade, journalism, distribution, climate change and many others. We want to compile knowledge together with all industry stakeholders.

Paulo: I’d love it for MUST to stay in Portugal but I see how a natural progression could lead to internationalization. I believe there could even be space to keep two events in parallel. If all goes well, MUST – Fermenting Ideas will become a mandatory event in Wine’s world agenda.

If you could pick any person, alive or dead, to share a bottle of wine with, who would it be and which wine would you pick?

Rui: One of the most extraordinary wines I’ve ever tasted in my life was a d’Oliveiras Verdelho 1850: an absolutely exquisite Madeira wine that took me closer to heaven. A gentle touch of the earthly and the divine. I would love to share it with the person who made it but never had the chance to see it evolve. I’d also invite Yo-Yo Ma and Bobby McFerring to share the same bottle, as they are two of my biggest references as free thinkers in classical music and jazz.

Paulo: I would pick Nelson Mandela, a human being with no equal. I’d choose a wine with a personality that symbolizes a life of struggle. A wine that resists abuses of Man and Time, that betters with age and reaches its peak when all others succumb. A wine that grows in adverse and improbable land. One of a kind. I would open a Madeira wine: Bual Solera, Blandy´s, 1826.

We hope you will join Rui, Paulo and a carefully curated list of speakers for the second edition of MUST – Fermenting Ideas, happening June 20th-22nd in Cascais, Portugal.