Sometimes everything just comes perfectly together and something great happens.
João Brito e Cunha is the heart and soul of Quinta de São José, a relatively new addition to the world of Port and Douro Wines.
Joao has the luck to be a descendent of Dona Antonia, the maybe most important person in the story of the Douro wine trade. From early years on the discussions in his house were around wine and how important it is to respect and understand it.
Joao got she passion for wine from his father and so it wasn’t a huge surprise when he decided to study Enology at the University of Tras-Os-Montes. But in addition to this domestic university he also ventured out into the world to learn more about wine making. He spent some time in France, in the Champagne region, to learn about wine making in the “old world” but also lived in Australia to get a feeling for making wine in the “new world”.
These experiences were brought by him into one of the more fascinating projects in the Douro Valley: The Feitoria dos Lavradores. Several years he was deeply involved and helped the project to succeed. He also worked some time for the large Port Wine Company Cockburn.
However, Joao has the philosophy that a wine should show the terroir – and those projects were more about blending than showing terroir. The Douro is so full of micro-climates, different grapes, different altitudes, different sun exposure – he wanted to make a wine that shows the terroir and started to make his own wines: ÁZEO.
When his father retired, they decided to venture into a new business: Quinta de São José. The place belonged to their family but had been neglected and needed a lot of restoration. This property is located in the heart of the Douro Valley near Ervedosa do Douro and has a very illustrious neighbor: Quinta do Roriz. They do not only focus on making exceptional wines but also on tourism. Located in a beautiful, nearly deserted part of the Douro they felt that here was a niche for such a product. They built a few properties before most people in The Douro Valley realized that tourism would be the next big thing and offer accommodations since 2011.
It’s still not very easy to drive with a car to the Quinta – but it’s very easy to reach it by boat. The Quinta has an own dock and is nicely located on the middle between Pinhao and Tua.
The Quinta has also a wine shop, where tourists can learn more about their wines. It also provides a good opportunity for tourists that are traveling by boat on the river and run out of wine to stop by and to re-stock…
The tourism is run by his Joao’s wife Sofia. It’s a great get-away place for tourists that are looking for absolute peace and quiet. The place offers a nice pool and modern, clean apartments. This is the kind of tourism that I like and do myself when I’m in the Douro Valley: Staying at private properties rather than hotels, staying at places that are directly related to the making of wine and run by families. This is the best way to get a basic understating of the region and Portugal as such…
Like so many Quintas in the Douro is also this Quinta blessed with vines in different altitudes, that provide great opportunities to the wine maker.
While Sofia takes care of the tourists in the properties down by the river, Joao’s kingdom is the newly built winery on top of the hill, overlooking the river and Valley. A visit to this place is unforgettable – standing inside near the large window visitors have the feeling to fly over the valley. The view from here is incredibly beautiful.
Joao was very lucky that his brother doesn’t share the same passion for wine – and so Joao was able to buy from his brother his vineyards and is now taking care of them.
It was a major investment to replant the existing parts that were not doing very well – which was of course also a good opportunity to “clean up” the vineyards. Now the different grapes are no longer planted as “field blends” but in a way that enables Joao to harvest each grape at the perfect time.
If you are located in the middle of the Port Wine Country and the hills around you provide amazing grapes for the Port Wine production, well… then you just have to make Port Wine. However, Quinta de S. Jose is only making Vintage Port. While in total only approx. 2% of all Port produced falls into the category of Vintage Port, here at the Quinta S. Jose all produced Port falls into this category. The Port is sold under the label SJ.
QUINTA DE S. JOSÉ
5130-123 Ervedosa do Douro
Telephone: (+351) 93 4041413 | (+351) 93 6500180
Fax (+351) 254 422 017
Wine related emails: email@example.com
Tourism related emails: firstname.lastname@example.org