Producer

Quinta Vale D. Maria

Country

PORTUGAL

Region of production

Appellations

Douro Valley

Founded

1868

Climate

Hot, dry summers and cold winters

Soil composition

Schist

Vineyard

90 hectares (45 hectares in Quinta Vale D. Maria in the Cima Corgo and 45 hectares in the Douro Superior)

Agriculture

Sustainable viticulture

Production Volume

Just over 175 000 bottles; 10% Port, 90% still red & white wine

Varieties Grown

Ages of Vines

At Quinta Vale D. Maria - Average of 60-year-old vines In the Douro Superior – Average of 20 year-old vinces

Behind the Wines

Cristiano & Joana Van Zeller

When Cristiano Van Zeller and his wife Joana took over the management of Joana’s family winery in 1996 the vineyards were all but abandoned. Only the 10-hectare plot surrounding the estate was in good condition. Cristiano and Joana worked tirelessly to restore the quinta’s former glory. They were among the first estates to diversify their range into top quality red and white table wines. Their efforts were soon rewarded. Quinta Vale D. Maria was the first Portuguese red wine to receive over 95 points from Robert Parker. Cristiano is a founding member of the Douro Boys – a group of 5 estates that work together to communicate, educate, and promote the excellence of the Douro region and its fine wines all around the world.

Unique, award-winning Douro wines

Quinta Vale D. Maria is an ancient estate in the heart of the Douro Valley. Established in 1868, the quinta was named for Queen Dona Maria II of Portugal. The grapes were the base of Graham’s Port for many years. Since 1996, in the hands of Cristiano van Zeller, the estate produces fine Ports as well as award-winning red and white wines.
Access the wines of this producer

“Our efforts are about innovation. Our wines are about personality, character, excitement, pleasure, fun, reliability, innovation, people, and life.” - Cristiano Van Zeller

A Unique Location

The majority of Quinta Vale D. Maria’s vineyards are located in the Torto river valley of the Cima Corgo. This affluent of the Douro river is sharply curved making the valley unique in terms of its constant changes in sun exposures and altitudes over a small space. The estate’s vineyards face 5 points of the compass (S, SE, SW, E, W) and vary in altitude from 150 to 250 meters. Since 2017, following the merge with Aveleda, 45 hectares in the Douro Superior are added. These grapes are the base fruit for our aged tawny Ports, and for our Rufo and VVV Valleys Douro reds.

Diversity & Tradition

The vineyards of Quinta Vale D. Maria are planted according to centuries’ old, traditional custom. A wide variety of indigenous grapes are co-planted in the same vineyards. The mixture of 41 different varieties creates an impressive diversity of aromas and textures. High density planting is also employed to reduce yields and increase complexity and concentration of flavours.

Sustainable Practices

The vineyards of the estate are principally treated with natural, organic compounds like Seaweed, Great Horsetail, and Stinging Nettle. Horse-drawn ploughs are used through-out the wet winter months. The grapes are hand harvested, and all red wines and Port wines are foot trodden in traditional granite lagares (shallow stone tanks).

A Wintry Hunter’s Stew

Cristiano Van Zeller is an avid hunter, shooting only what he eats. His main prey is small birds. Cristiano’s daughter Francisca recalls regularly seeing him bring in partridges to be plucked and prepared by the cook. The meat was then simmered for many hours in Port wine. Francisca recommends pairing this flavourful dish with Quinta Vale D. Maria Douro red. The rich structure, spicy aromas, and fine tannins of this full-bodied red harmonize perfectly with the succulent partridge.