Quinta das Arcas, which produces Conde Villar and Tapada de Villar wines, is a family owned winery that was founded in 1985 by Antonio Esteves Monteiro. The family owns significant vineyard holdings in both the DOC Vinho Verde (Minho) as well as DOC Alentejo. In the Vinho Verde region where the company is headquartered, the production is obtained from three estates, totaling more than 295 acres (120 hectares) of vineyardS. Further south, in Alentejo, the winery’s holdings included 150 acres (60 hectares) of vineyards with Portuguese and international varieties highly adapted to the region and also 75 acres (30 hectares) of olive trees. The winery also engages in cheese-making from cow’s milk produced on the estate.
Location of Vineyard
Conde Villar, the Vinho Verde wines, are produced in northwest Portugal, on the Spanish border. The vineyards here are influenced by a very special microclimate formed in the valley of the Ferreira River, which along with cool Atlantic breezes lowers the temperature, particularly toward the end of the growing cycle. The vineyards are located about 20 miles (32 kilometers) from the ocean, at an average of 490 feet (150 meters) high. The Vinho Verde vineyards are planted on schist, black slate, and granite. The average age of these vineyards is about 20 years, and no irrigation is used after the first few years to develop healthy roots. The wines produced in the Alentejo are about 250 miles (400 km) south of the Vinho Verde region, inland from the ocean. The vineyards are planted on clay and schist soils. The location is favorable to wine growing, benefitting from outstanding sun exposure and severe temperature shifts between day and night. The winery is located in the middle of the vineyard, making a quick trip for the grapes from vine to crush. The climate is very hot and very dry, with temperatures rising to about 100°F (38°C) at harvest. The average age of the vines is 12 years.
Conde Villar and Tapada de Villar wines are produced with the finest quality grapes from the Vinho Verde and Alentejo regions, with careful attention paid to the treatment of the land. All grapes are grown under the EPA’s Integrated Pest Management system, eliminating pests using only natural methods. For the vineyards located in the Vinho Verde region of the country, the grapes are manually harvested, transported in small crates, and vinified in a short period in order to preserve the primary aromas and freshness. The fruit is quickly destemmed and pressed, followed by low temperature fermentation on the white wines and carbonic maceration on the reds. The rosé wine production effectively uses the same method as the white wine, but with a small amount of skin contact and strict temperature control. In the Alentejo, the harvest is mechanical. This allows the teams to work during the night and part of the morning in order to avoid the high temperatures that scorch the region during the harvest season. The winery’s location in the middle of the vineyards allows the team to vinify the fruit shortly after the harvest. All the grapes are destemmed upon entering the winery.