Uncorking Portugal: 6 under-the-radar Portuguese wineries

Portugal has a long-standing tradition of winemaking – stretching back as far as 2000 BC – and still to this day smaller wineries combine traditional winemaking methods with innovative practices to enhance the quality and diversity of their wines. From sustainable low-impact cultivation practices in the vineyards to natural fermentation of the wines in the cellar, Portuguese winemakers are constantly evolving – and often that means returning to their roots. 

Within this small and beautiful country you can find more than 250 grape varieties grown across more than 4,700 vineyards. Portugal’s small wineries are the heart and soul of the country’s wine industry, each telling a story of passion, heritage, and innovative spirit. Whether you’re sipping a vibrant full-bodied red from the Douro Valley or exploring the rich complexity of a Dão, these wines offer a direct connection to the land and people of Portugal. 

Of course, not every winemaker is focused on quality production. It’s why we’re highlighting our favourite boutique wineries, from the sunny plains of the Algarve to the historic terraces of the Douro Valley. Let’s take a look!

Quinta de Sant’Ana, Greater Lisbon

Just a short drive from Lisbon, Quinta de Sant’Ana combines the artistry of winemaking with the beauty of its lush, romantic surroundings. This family-run estate not only features unique wines such as the versatile Riesling and Pinot Noir, but also serves as the perfect picturesque backdrop for events.

The winery is dedicated to maintaining the natural and aesthetic value of nature and reducing their carbon footprint. The use of eco-friendly operations is considered to be the key to delicious and sustainable winemaking. Each bottle carries the taste of the region’s rich soil and the family’s dedication to sustainable land cultivation. The grapes are harvested by hand when ripe, ensuring that only the most delicious and high-quality fruit goes into producing wine.

The outcome is a variety of wines that are as delicious as they are expressive of their microclimate. You can order a tasty picnic basket and bottle of Quinta Sant’Ana wine, and enjoy a feast in the vineyard at a location of your choosing. 

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Morgado do Quintão, Algarve

Morgado do Quintão is a family-run estate that expresses the love of the land and exemplifies winemaking traditions in the sun-kissed Algarve. The estate’s steadfast dedication to protecting its native grape varieties, such as Crato Branco and Negra Mole, is evidence of its commitment to tradition. 

The expansive vineyard is filled with olive and fig trees, welcoming guests to experience a trip back in time and savour terroir-focused wines. Because of the estate’s dedication to sustainable farming methods, the soil is protected and maintained, which is mirrored in the expressive taste of each bottle. The best place to sip, swirl and sample wines from Morgado do Quintão is at a long table beneath their 2,000-year-old olive tree.

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Quinta Vila Raquel, Douro Valley

Quinta Vila Raquel has been in the hands of the same family for over a century and epitomises the spirit of the Douro Valley, a region celebrated for its dramatic landscapes and robust wines. Now helmed by its sixth generation, the winery is under the watch of Tiago Cartageno, a descendant of the founders. He focuses on showcasing his family’s history while expressing his own environmental values. 

The property is a biodiverse haven, home to an array of grape varieties that share their land with fruit and cork trees, and an abundance of different flora. Here the traditions of the Douro – one of the oldest demarcated wine regions – meets quality in the form of meticulously crafted natural wines. The winery’s dedication to expressing the nuanced flavours of its vines makes each visit a curious deep dive into the storied winemaking history.

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Atlas Land, Algarve 

In the wild and unkempt landscape of the western Algarve, Atlas Land emerges as a symbol of the blend between tradition and innovation. Born and raised in the Piedmont region of Italy and formally trained in Bordeaux, the Italian winemaker Filippo Pozzi has worked with big names in France as well as California. 

Combining his winemaking skills, Italian heritage and the unique terroir of the Algarve, Pozzi has created Atlas Land to embody his idea of winemaking. The petite winery specialises in small-batch wines that are sustainable and expressive of the local landscape, making it a standout addition to the Algarve’s wine scene.

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Filipa Pato & William Wouters, Bairrada

Filipa Pato and her husband, William Wouters, have made a significant mark on the Bairrada region with their dedication to authentic, terroir-driven wines. The Portuguese-Belgian couple focuses on natural winemaking processes that highlight the flavours of the region. With a deep-rooted respect for the land and a commitment to minimal intervention, Pato and Wouters have allowed the region’s indigenous grape varieties, such as Baga and Arinto, to take centre stage. 

Through their meticulous cultivation and nurturing of these grapes, they have managed to capture the very essence of Bairrada in each bottle. The wines possess a unique character and depth that can only be achieved through a profound understanding of the terroir and a respect for tradition. Each sip reveals the region’s rich soil, the gentle touch of the sun, and the delicate nuances of the grapes.

António Madeira, Dão

António Madeira’s unwavering passion for the historic Dão region opens the door to the soul of Portuguese winemaking. He devotes himself to safeguarding the indigenous grape varieties, all in pursuit of crafting wines that embody the intricate nature of the Dão.

The exceptional quality and distinctive character of his wines are a testament to his meticulous attention to detail in both vineyard cultivation and winemaking techniques. By staying true to the terroir and allowing the grapes to express themselves fully, he creates wines that are not only delicious but also a true testament to the region.

Ready to go beyond the mainstream and delve into a deeper, more intimate narrative of Portuguese wine? Reach out to our team at info@epic.travel and we’ll design a unique wine-focussed Portugal itinerary, or incorporate a few tastings into your trip.

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