The old and new
An old vineyard, planted between 1920 and 1945, maintained without the use of any artificial herbicides or pesticides, Quinta de Macedos sits among the vines in the TORTO RIVER Valley in the DOURO region of northern PORTUGAL.
"Macedos" has long been closely associated with the viticultural history and traditions of the Douro Valley. Its produce was for many years sold to the large Port Wine Shippers. However since 2000 the Quinta has sought new direction and focus through the creation of limited quantities of full bodied and concentrated fine red table wine.
At Macedos approximately 40,000 old vines are allowed to flourish in their natural environment with the minimum of artificial interference. All the vines are grown organically so artificial fertilizers are not used. Instead, organic matter is returned to the soil every 4th year by tilling between the rows with horse and plough.
The building of a New Wine Lodge, which now consists of a main House, a Winery and a Wine lodge, was completed in 2002. All Macedos wine is made at the Winery exclusively from Quinta grapes. Maintaining longstanding traditions the fruit is hand harvested, trodden in our restored granite "lagares" (treading chambers) and is naturally fermented. The wine is then aged in small barrels of New French Oak prior to bottling and release.
The vineyard has a variety or 'terroirs', facing north, west and east giving the vineyard a complex maturation profile. In elevation it ranges between 200m and 100m. With such varied aspect the vineyard is divided into sections, each delineated so as to achieve a more or less uniform maturation with the aim of allowing the harvest to be picked and vinified in small batches.
This in turn allows more control of the fermentation process and more flexibility in the final blends. Seasonal fieldwork is done by hand, by a small group of experienced workers who return every year to tend to our vines.
What makes wine so fascinating is a capacity to express its unique origins and upbringing - "terroir in a bottle". The quality of each successive harvest begins, in large measure, with the seasonal care and attention given to the vines.
The Quinta already had an established "Adega" - winery -, and a main house and outbuildings but a considerable amount of renovation was needed to the Adega before it could become "operational". Renewal work was started almost immediately on the Winery.
Careful to preserve the original 2-foot thick stone walls, the structure was strengthened and re-roofed with double cavity insulation. The interior was also completely reconditioned, and a traditional hydraulic "Titan" vertical basket press and a water-cooling system linking to all the "lagares" was installed, along with new stainless steel storage vats.
The unique characteristics of the old low-yielding vines and traditional mix of indigenous Douro varietals have been maintained. The various sections of vineyard were field grafted between 1920 and 1945 and they still grow on the original stone terraces, fashioned, by hand, from the steep schistous slopes. The vines are trained low -Gobolet style- and spur pruned to 2 buds. At the same time, replanting has also taken place in areas where yields have ceased or the vine has died.
The continuity of our experienced workers returning yearly to tend to our vines, is vital in maintaining a high level of viticultural husbandry on our old vines. We normally witness Budburst in mid-March and Veraison in late May / early June. Harvest time is usually in early September.
The timing of harvest is aimed to take place when the fruit reaches its optimum ripeness. All our fruit is harvested by hand into small (25kgs) ventilated boxes and taken to the winery for selection prior to treading.
In 2002 the building of the New Wine Lodge was completed, which now will house all the wine during maturation and cellaring. Redevelopment of the house was approached in a similarly sympathetic way, preserving the thick walls and exterior look whilst rebuilding and modernising the interior. Hospitality can now be offered to those seeking to enjoy the Douro experience.