2017 marks 25 years that Quinta do Tedo became ours. A "fixer upper", to say the least! Vincent always wanted to invest in a vineyard, it is "in his blood" as a scion of the Burgundian Bouchard Père et Fils winery. But his destiny - the French oak barrel export business - brought him to Napa Valley in 1979. When he started to look for property in the late '80s Napa Valley was already too expensive (10x more today!), so he sought elsewhere. I had lived in Italy before meeting him and he was jealous of anything Italian. France was out of the question, as he developed export markets. At the time Spanish sparkling cava was "hot" and vineyard prices had mounted. A suggestion by a close family friend was made to visit Portugal’s Douro Valley, renowned for Porto – and a protected place name region as well. Already intrigued by the multi-faceted and unique qualities of Porto, Vincent invited me to take a weekend trip. With backpacks and hiking shoes in hand and ready for adventure, we travelled to Portugal. Quinta do Tedo captured our hearts - it just needed a lot of work!
Located at the confluence of rivers Douro and Tedo, with classification "A" vineyards (Grand Cru equivalent), the 37 acres of vineyards were already producing excellent grape quality. As energetic and driven owners of Quinta do Tedo changes were made. We stopped selling the grapes to large port houses and changed to single quinta status, meaning everything is done in-house with our estate-grown grapes. Talented winemaker and general manager Jorge Alves joined forces in the mid 90s and our compatible visions have been invaluable – renovating existing vineyards, transitioning to organic viticulture, and renovating the property. Located In both an Unesco World Heritage site and the ecological reserve of Tedo river, we were guaranteed that Douro Valley would remain characteristic and prime real estate. Fast forward decades - today we produce internationally-acclaimed Portos, Douro DOC red wines and organic olive, have a Best of Wine Tourism certification for our tours, tastings and 5-bedroom Agroturismo, and since 2016 a seasonal Bistro Terrace.
Taken around 1995, here are Vincent and Jorge enjoying a midnight harvest tasting and barbeque. How many times did they pull all nighters, during the critical period of fortification, impossible to plan in advance?! We did not have a cellar crew at the time, our vineyards workers were our harvest crew inside the lagar and outside in the vineyards.
Today tasting is more civilized. With similar palates and mutual respect Jorge and Vincent's vision has taken Quinta do Tedo far.
Harvest 1992 crew! I am front row left, and our vineyard manager who has been with us 25 years, Joachim, back row left! How lucky we are to have such great workers.
A recent harvest crew, with our children Odile and Joe, and cook Adelaide in the front next to me. As we are a traditional Douro Valley winery, hot meals are a given for our workers. The harvest crew mushrooms to 25 persons and that is a lot of baccalhau to prepare! International friends and interns are here as well; foot treading and harvest make for a fascinating and intensive time and one of camaraderie.
In addition to our harvest crew, here is our current tasting room staff, Agroturismo personnel, cellar workers, interns from other countries, and of course Jorge, Vincent and myself. How times have changed.
Our lagares around 20 years ago. ”Purple feet = promising Porto” has been our saying for years.
While not the official harvest foot treaders, here is a 2016 photo of family and friends at work. “Purple feet = promising Porto” all the more!
This photo was taken in 1997 when we first looked for export markets. We also had a Fine Tawny and a LBV in our small line up. There was no turning back to make Quinta do Tedo internationally known, and we were determined.
Current line up - Vintage, LBV, Finest Reserve Ruby, Ruby, Fine Tawny, 10 yr and 20 yr Tawnies, Douro DOC Grande Reserva Savedra, Douro DOC Reserva and Douro DOC and our organic olive oil. We have come a long way.