A Little of History
When the couple Cilene and Eli Werneck purchased a land at Rio das Flores, where today is localized the Werneck’s Ranch, they decided to rescue a little of the family’s history and correct directions.
The Werneck Family has been in Brasil for more than 3 centuries and it was in the Coffee Valley that its ancestors set. It was in a time before the Coffee Cycle, when all the farms mostly explored the sugar cane. Then came the Coffee Cycle that generated so much wealth as poverty (like slavery), as well as environmental deterioration. With the Coffee Cycle’s end, the cycle of dairy cattle had begun, which also did nothing good for the environment.
Bringing to Rio das Flores their sustainable project, Werneck Couple rescued their family origins. Immediately they started to recover the Atlantic Forest, today representing more than 50% of the area. They also brought a unusual concept in the local: the Cachaça as Cultural Heritage, a Cachaça with quality standards equivalent to those used in the production of the best distillates of the world. They rescued the concept of social responsibility, employing the local population, respecting all the labor rights, and whenever possible, doing purchases locally so investing money into the economy of the city.
The sugar cane plantation itself doesn’t carry the defects of the monoculture so usual in the old days. Simultaneously, they planted also corn, bean, pumpkin, zucchini, cassava and various fruits. The sugar cane area occupies less than 25% of the property’s area. It is fully Organic Certified, initially by ABIO and now by QIMA IBD. One kilometer of limits bordering the river which gave the city its name – Rio das Flores – was fully restored on the riparian forest.
Werneck Distillery started with Cilene and Eli producing the cachaça by themselves. They studied quite a lot before starting and have been continuously updating their knowledge. Cilene, graduated in plastic arts, is capricious and perfectionist up to extremes. It’s hers the yeast recipe. She is also responsible for the sensorial analysis. Eli, engineer, was responsible for the design and construction of the distillery and since the beginning is responsible for the batches preparation and for the bottlement.
Eli used his experience as engineer and as executive in a multinational company for more than 30 years and designed in details every step of the process, creating all control reports. There are spreadsheets for all steps of the production process and traceability is complete. Looking at a bottle, with the figures in the batch stamp it is possible to define from which area of the plantation came the sugar cane and which day or period was it cut and smashed. Werneck was the first producer in State of Rio de Janeiro to receive the INMETRO Certification of Quality and Sustainability.
Still nowadays, besides the growth of the business, Cilene and Eli continue conducting all the process, with the assistance of 3 reliable collaborators.
Cilene and Eli Werneck work to teach the public that to drink is more a question of quality than of quantity. That a good beverage must be tasted and appreciated slowly. And we must drink only moderately and with responsibility.
Among producers, Cilene and Eli work in favor of a continuous rise of quality levels.
With a lot of awards, Werneck started to call attentions to Rio das Flores, a small town almost unknown in the big cities. Though incentivated the tourism and became a regional development factor. In August 2017, Rio das Flores City chamber rendered homage to Cilene and Eli Werneck due to the work in benefit of the town.