Our philosophy on winemaking is of minimum intervention, allowing the natural characteristics of our terroir to shine through in the wines. The winery is one of the oldest buildings on the Quinta. We have adapted the ancient cellars to meet modern winemaking methods, going to great lengths to preserve its historical beauty. As a result our work in the winery is very hands-on and apart from our fork-lift and conveyor belt, most of the lifting, measuring, testing, monitoring and cleaning is done manually. It ensures the highest degree of attention to detail as well as a personal, human touch.
For White Wines the handpicked grapes arrive at the winery in 20kg boxes, they are pressed in our pneumatic press, which minimizes bruising on the grape’s skin and extracts only the purest grape must. The must is gently pumped into cooled stainless-steel tanks, where it settles for 24 hours, the clean juice is then decanted off the sediment and fermentation can commence in tank or barrel. The Arinto and Alvarinho are aged in barrels, often with lees stirring to prevent reduction, enhance aromas and increase structure. We use a wide variety of different barrel types with oak from different French forests and different toasting, which ensures that our wines have depth with various layers of complexity.
For Red Wines, the handpicked grapes arrive at the winery in 20kg boxes, the bunches are de-stemmed and the grape berries lightly crushed until they split. We use a conveyor belt to transport the grapes into the tank where they will ferment. The tanks are cooled with the objective of delaying the fermentation. At this stage we tread the grapes that are in the stone fermentation baths (lagares) and pump the must over the grapes that are in stainless steel tanks. Fermentation starts spontaneously through the yeasts that are naturally present on the grape’s skin, the cooling is then adjusted to a higher temperature allowing it to rise to 27ºC. Regular pump-overs continue during and after fermentation until António is happy that we have extracted enough tannins. Regular tasting is essential to monitor the progress of the wine from start to finish. After pressing the wine goes to barrel where it ages until ready to bottle.
Tradition meets high-tech
We have preserved the aesthetic and structure of our old winery but invested in state-of-the-art equipment and techniques.
SOME GRAPES ARE STILL CRUSHED THE TRADITIONAL WAY WITH BARE FEET.
Besides being part of our region's heritage, some red wines truly benefit from this technique
We are so lucky, that given our small production and beautiful centuries-old winery, we are still able to continue the wonderful artisanal tradition of pisapé. This is the process of macerating the grapes by bare foot! Once the grapes have been sorted, they are emptied into the old granite lagares (tanks) and there is no hygiene risk – the grapes have only just come from the vineyards and still have particles of leaves and dust, so the foot-treading at this stage is simply to split the grapes, and squeeze the pulp and the skins together, but without crushing the pips, which would give the wine a very bitter flavour. After this process, the juice goes on to be fermented and filtered and sterilised.
It is a very special tradition that we are able to keep alive, and while it is also a serious task and must be done thoroughly, we must admit, that often we will crack open a bottle and turn up the sound system while we are treading, and it is a very sacred part of our harvest time.