At the beginning of the 2000’s, Jorge Lourenço, with only 18 years, was responsible for modernizing the 25 hectares of vineyards already planted, selecting new grape varieties to expand the area of vineyards, structuring the company to vinify the grapes and commercialize the produced wines. In the last 10 years, the company's growth has been unstoppable, due to the quality and originality of its wines, where the recovery of the Douro's old grape varieties have forged the image of the brands and the recognition of VINILOURENÇO. Currently the company has 45 hectares of vineyards, spread over the counties of Meda and Vila Nova de Foz Côa. The dispersion of the various plots of vineyards in the Poço do Canto, Vale da Teja and Pocinho, with a great diversity of climate, altitude - between 160 and 700 m - and soils, shale in the lowlands and shale/granite in the highest lands, allow the creation of very diverse wines. Harvesting time lasts for more than a month and a half, but the distinct behavior of the same grape varieties planted in different locations offers an enormous versatility of wine styles.
LOCATIONS OF THE VINES
Today our vines have about 45ha and they’re scattered by different parcels, some of them dozens of kilometers apart from each other, located in Poço do Canto, Meda, Vale da Teja and Pocinho. This fact has some inconvenients, because they’re so apart from each other we can’t adopt the “Quinta” concept and increase, significantly, the production costs, but in return the huge benefit of having vines with a great diversity of environmental conditions, that allows us to explore the wine varieties in a very creative way so that we’re able to produce wines with a wide variety of styles. Here vines grow at a height range go 160-650 meters, in both steep hillsides as well as slightly, undulated high plains. This way we can have vines planted in one, two or more line steps with different solar exposure or vines in a single line, plain or gently slopped with a single solar exposure. Due to this landscape diversity, a wine variety like “Touriga Nacional” or “Tinto Cão”, can be harvested in the last week of August at the hot lower level zones by the river and in the second or third week of October at higher and northerly exposure. The soils of “xistenta” origin(based on shale) - Douro typical - are more common on lower level zones, down by the Douro river, also on some intermediate level zone an in some of the higher zones on Poço do Canto location. The transition soils with both shale and granite origins and only granite ones - Beira typical- are more concentrated in higher zones, in the frontier between Douro and Beira Interior in the lands that belong to Planalto Beirão. The “xistenta" origin soils with more fertility and less acidity, have a better water holding capacity and ,usually, lead to a bigger productivity as well as lesser water stress to the vines in warmer and dryer years. The granite origin soils, less fertile, origin great quality wines, specially when soft rains drop by in September.
The environmental conditions diversity, allows us to explore a huge diversity of wine varieties, that we’ve been studying accurately in order to produce different wine styles but mainly to understand the most original wine lots. On white wine varieties the dominant ones are Viosinho and Rabigato, that have an excellent behavior in higher placed vines. Besides these two we have as well, Malvasia-Fina, Gouveio, Moscatel Galego Branco, Fernão-Pires, Rabigato Moreno, Samarrinho e Donzelinho Branco. As for the red wine varieties, the dominants are Touriga-Nacional, Tinta-Roriz, Bastardo, Touriga-Franca, Sousão, Tinto-Cão e Tinta Barroca, all of them are raised in both smaller and higher lands. Besides these we also have a small parcel of Alicante Bouschet.
DOURO ANCIENT WINE VARIETIES
One of VINILOURENCO’s most cherished projects is recovering the Douro ancient wine varieties, which have been studied as for their viticulture behavior at higher height lands (we’re doing this because of studies from Douro Wines Study Center, “Centro de Estudos Vitívinicolas do Douro”, are only focused on the behavior at lower height lands), and as for their oenological behavior, in small wine quantities of about 30 Liters. To do so we installed a collection of 40 wine varieties, 22 whites and the remaining 18 red in, “Quinta do Cavalinho”, a farm with about 500 meters height. All the varieties that reveal a good viticulture and oenological behavior are planted in lots of 0,5 - 1 ha in order to origin mono variety wines to sell in small quantities. Using this method we planted Donzelinho Branco e Samarrinho varieties whose 2015 harvests were launched in market in 2016 Another way of studying the ancient wine varieties behavior is being done by creating protocols with smallholders of ancient vines located in bigger heights, where rare varieties are recognized, and which grapes are transformed into wine separately. This way we were able to select a red variety with an amazing oenological behavior, which we already planted in a small lot and will soon lead to mono variety wine.