After three years of preparations, Estômbar-based wine estate Quinta dos Vales has finally launched ‘The Winemaker Experience’. The goal is simple: to turn wine-lovers into wine-makers.
It is described as the “only project of its kind in Portugal”, offering an exclusive opportunity for aspiring wine-makers to own a vineyard and make their own wine without investing millions or studying the art of winemaking for years.
The wine estate has for 2021 20 vineyard plots – boasting red and white grape varieties from Portuguese staples such as Touriga Nacional and Alvarinho to French classics like Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon – available for rent or purchase.
The idea has been in development since 2017.
Owner Karl Heinz Stock was adamant from the very start that the project would not be officially launched until its mechanics were completely fine-tuned.
His team needed to “learn the intricacies of micro production, as well as find the best way to guide participants without overloading them with information,” the winery says in a statement.
Now, after three successful harvests and seven plots in operation by Private Wine-Makers, the team is “confident that the project is truly ready to kick off”.
The goal is to offer a tailor-made experience for each client, including how involved they wish to be in the production process.
“They can roll up their sleeves and be a part of each step, or state their preferences with the winery’s team and let them do the work,” says Michael Stock, co-manager and responsible for The Winemaker Experience of Quinta dos Vales.
In order to cater to different goals, he created four experiences.
The first is a three-hour introduction to winemaking entitled Bottle Blending Workshop (prices starting at €62 per person).
Next comes the Barrel Blending Experience (starting at €5,472), which allows wine-lovers to produce their own 225-litre barrel with samples of the best single varietal Quinta dos Vales wines.
For the most ambitious aspiring winemakers who want to tackle the process from the very beginning, the estate has created the ‘Rent a Vineyard’ scheme (starting at €5,472 per year). It is described as the “perfect opportunity to try winemaking without a long-term commitment,” with a one-year contract for a single harvest.
Lastly comes the “crème de la crème” – the ultimate winemaking experience, ‘Own a Vineyard’. This allows clients to purchase their own plot, turning winemaking into an exclusive experience or, “who knows, a new lifestyle”.
“By purchasing a plot through the Own a Vineyard scheme, participants can produce their own wine without the risk of starting a business from scratch, and at a fraction of the cost,” says Karl Heinz Stock.
Participants can choose one of the existing vineyards or plant completely new ones on virgin plots.
Prices vary from €30,000 to €60,000 depending on the variety and location of the plot.
Every plot will provide approximately 288 bottles per year of privately labelled and blended wine.
Annual fees (from €8 to €11 per bottle) include works at the vineyard and wine cellar, as well as all the materials used, and consulting services provided.
The finished product is delivered to the producers, duly aged, bottled, labelled and packaged. The only extra cost will be the delivery of the wine, if necessary.
And for those who want to follow the production as closely as possible, the German winemaker has created holiday-home resort called The Vines, located in the heart of Quinta dos Vales, allowing those interested in purchasing a home near their plot.
Alternatively, the whole experience can even be managed remotely.
“Whenever it is not possible to be there in person, the team guarantees that owners are completely informed and in control, be it through photos, videos, WhatsApp messages, emails or phone calls. They can even taste and blend their wines from afar, as the team will send samples with notes and recommendations,” says the estate.
For further information, contact Quinta dos Vales:
(+351) 282 431 036