When we bought the quinta in 1992 the property was in dire need of renovation. Vincent and I were on a tight budget and we couldn’t commission a graphic artist to come up with a clever logo for branding. Instead we chose to use our own creativity. Our quinta, bordered by Douro and Tedo rivers, is home to an impressive variety of birds. Nature lovers that Vincent and I are, we agreed on a bird logo and chose the wheateater, or oenanthe leucurus that winters at the Tedo. Wanting a logo with graphic impact, we searched through books for ideas as the internet was less used the early 90s. We were particularly inspired by the illustrations from “Chez Panisse Café Cookbook”, (from the legendary restaurant in Berkeley, California where owner Alice Water pioneered California’s “farm-to-table” culinary movement). The cookbook’s visually strong vegetable block prints (they are lovely!) were the catalyst to what became our bird logo. Musical notes for the bird’s song were added to show our passion for music. The wing is shaped like a ½ heart to attract the romantic (all of us). Vincent felt that all these details would make for a successful label – eye catching, timeless and successful branding.
The bird logo is used for our different Porto and olive oil labels, and a modern partial cut of the bird is used for our Douro red wines labels. We have also used the bird logo to decorate the quinta – on walls, on signs, on cisterns – even on trash cans along Tedo river!
I am proud to share with you another artistic addition by youngest son Joe. As a project for his last highschool year, he designed a man carrying a basket full of grapes on his back and a lady cutting grapes in the vineyard, both common sights during the vindimia, or harvest. Cut out onto galvanized steel towering 2.5 – 3 m or 8 – 10 ft tall, these stylized designs will be placed strategically on our terraced vineyards. In the meantime Joe has painted the designs on our electric tower, sharing with those passing by 2 Portuguese harvest traditions.
Soon we will release another artistic addition: traditional azulejos decorationg the lagars, to be discussed in a future blog.