At the end of 1993, when leaving Quinta do Noval, it was my ambition to contribute to the development of independent producers in the Douro, thus not only contributing to the establishment of a new and strong wave of innovation in the region, but also complementing, and at the same time diminishing, the Region's dependence on one single type of wine: Port. The richness of the Douro Region and its promotion can be developed into new fields using the different characteristics that make it unique in the world—its geography, soil and microclimate; the numerous different high quality native grape varieties; the different style of wines those grapes can produce from all styles of Porto and other fortified wines (Muscatels) to white and red still wines; all the different properties (Quintas) and their ancient history all serve to accentuate and enhance the uniqueness of the region.

Following these guidelines, I started to develop different wines and Ports produced exclusively from grapes grown in different Quintas. It was very natural to start looking at having my own vineyards. Quinta Vale D. Maria was acquired in 1996.





This wild and beautiful part of northern Portugal offers extraordinarily good conditions for wine grapes on the steeply shelved slopes of the River Douro, hill after hill stretching off to the horizon with narrow roads winding around their contours. Here, the vine terraces bask in the sun that provides ideal climatic conditions, heating the pure schist and granite soil that is typical within this region. Life is not so easy for Douro winegrowers though; the vine roots are forced down between layers of rock seeking out the limited water, while schist absorbs and then radiates heat. For centuries, Douro growers have been supplying an eager world with Port. Now wine experts the world over recognize that the Douro region also offers ideal conditions for making unfortified wines of the highest quality, both red and white. Producers here are crafting stunning and highly distinctive wines that rank amongst Portugal’s most intense and complex.