The story of six Luthiers and the Marques de Pombal's wine barrels
It all started with what is the most magical of discoveries for a guitar maker: a bunch of old, interesting wood.
On his search for quality Mahogany wood for his guitars Portugese luthier Adriano Sergio discovered a pile of it in the back of a warehouse. It turned out that the wood came from old wine barrels, stored in a disassembled state, dusty and still caked with the essence of the wine they had contained. But a few strokes with the hand planer revealed the rich hue of Mahogany beneath the grime – ripe for guitar making. Adriano told his friend and colleague Ulrich Teuffel about this discovery and the opportunity to purchase this wood.
Researching the history of the barrels Adriano discovered that they had belonged to the estate of the Marquês de Pombal, a significant figure in the history of Lisbon.
Together, Adriano and Ulrich developed the idea of a project which would honor the historical context of this wood by placing it in the hands of a group of select artisan luthiers, reviving it and giving it a new purpose and life. There are times when something magical happens, when special circumstances, world-class artisans, and a remarkable material come together and enable the creation of something truly outstanding.
This was one of those moments!
Six select luthiers would use this wood to create six special instruments, applying their inspiration and craft to this unique 250+ years old Carcavelos Mahogany. Thus,
'The Guitar Barrel Project' was born. It grew even more when, following an interview Adriano gave to a Portugese newspaper, Alexandre Lisboa from Villa Oeiras, the
winery that still continues to this date on the former estate of the palace of the Marques de Pombal, contacted Adriano and expressed their desire to get involved as
In 2018 the six luthiers – Adriano Sergio, Andy Manson, Claudio Pagelli, Michael Spalt, Nik Huber, and Ulrich Teuffel – met in Lisbon to discover the wood for themselves and select pieces for their guitars. Villa Oeiras also received enough pieces to recreate two barrels to develop a very special wine. The Guitar Barrel Project' was first announced in conjunction and with the kind sponsorship of the Oeiras Winery on September 22nd, 2018 during a special event at the wine cellar. The guitars would now be built in the secrecy of each luthier's workshop, not to be shown to each other until they would be united again at Villa Oeiras.
The appearance of COVID delayed not only the making of the documentary about the project, but also the unification of the finished instruments; but finally the six luthiers presented the guitars to each other in January 2023 during a private event, where the filming for the documentary was also concluded and a small amount of the wine, resting in the reconstructed barrels, was tasted.
The collection of completed instruments was presented in an exhibition together with the now bottled wine at the winery, along with the premiere of the documentary on Sunday, May 14, 2023 at Villa Oeiras in Lisbon.
Both the collection and the documentary will be exhibited going forward and are available to show either separately or in combination. If you're interested in exhibiting the collection, the documentary or both together, please contact us through our contact page. If you want to stay up to date on where the collection and film will be shown next, follow us on Instagram and Facebook for updates.