Is the combination of these main features able to give shape and identity to a wine.
– The grape varieties, soil, climate and the sculptural work of man.
We believe that we have a special “terroir” here at Monte da Casteleja.
The Monte da Casteleja soil is unique to the area, good for vine growing, medium depth with a high percentage of clay and lime. The land retains the water deep in the ground and slowly releases it to the roots during the summer, when the plants need it more.
Precipitation of 400 mm per year, mainly during the winter months, strongly limits vine growing.
The proximity of the sea is also a very important factor; humidity is higher and plants suffer less from water stress; the maturation is smoother and long.
The prior decision to install irrigation in the vineyard was crucial. But, with our underground water becoming more and more salty and, known difficulty to handle high vigour in irrigated vineyard, we decided to avoid irrigation on a regular basis.
It was very important to limit the strength of the plant in order to reduce its water needs, so we increase the number of plants per hectare. The distance between rows is 2.00 m instead of the usual 2.70m –3.00m. The competition between plants is augmented.
In this area northerly winds blow in the summer afternoons, refreshing the nights and improving colour and flavour concentration inside the berries.
Organic farming is an agricultural production method that guarantees the preservation of the environment, biodiversity and the future of the earth.
Being characterised by:
Ensure the conservation and improvement of fertility in the soil long term. Uses the soil less intensively. Restricts the use of fertilizers. It uses natural products to fight diseases and weeds abolishing the use of pestisides altogether.
Viticulture is a very ancient agriculture activity, with a first expansion during the Roman period. Their presence is noticeable in the surrounding area and also in our land, revealed by the many pieces of ceramic and mosaic we frequently found in the soil. Archaeologists believe that first Lagos, called “Lacobriga”, was born around this valley, with the sea coming much further inland, very close to our property.
After the Moors invaded the Iberian Peninsula they stayed here for many centuries, they continued the activity of grape production and brought new cultures like almonds and figs. They were responsible for the development of efficient irrigation systems. The conquest by the Portuguese furthermore increased the wine production activity which was exported to many countries.
In the early 20th century, during the Philoxera infection, a bug that destroyed all vineyards in Europe, port shippers had no wine to fulfil their needs and bought many millions of litres of Algarve wines because of their quality.
Nowadays the area of vines in the Algarve is around 3000 hectares and cooperatives and independent growers transform the grapes. The region is made up of 4 main wine producing areas: – Lagos, Portimão, Lagoa and Tavira. Each one of them with different varieties and soils, on a narrow band of land close to the sea.