Quinta do Crasto is a producer of Douro and Port wines, located in the heart of the Douro Valley, the oldest regulated wine region in the world, classified as World Heritage by UNESCO in 2001. In the tourism scene, Quinta do Crasto has been distinguished and affirmed for its differentiating character: not only for the exceptional quality of its wines, much appreciated during tastings by its visitors but also for its excellent personalized service and its unique landscape setting on the right bank of the Douro River.
Among its many accolades, recently Crasto has won the Best Of Wine Tourism Award in Architecture and Landscapes. In conversation with Ana Freitas, the Wine Tourism Director of Quinta do Crasto, said ‘We are extremely honoured and proud every time we receive distinctions, whether for the recognition of the wines, the viticulture projects, or the landscaping. The estate is, in fact, inserted in a unique terroir, with a privileged location over the Douro River. It is difficult not to be impressed by the Douro landscape.’
Let’s unveil the reasons behind this award and as well to know a little more about this amazing estate
Quinta do Crasto’s first references date back to 1615 and with more than 400 years of history continues to be one of the top references in the Douro Valley. Crasto has gone through several owners until it was acquired in 1918 by Constantino d’Almeida, a reference in the wine world, founder of Casa de Vinhos do Porto, and Brandy Constantino. The property has remained in the same family until today, and the 4th generation is currently in charge of managing the brand. Nowadays the Quinta do Crasto brand produces wines in two sub-regions of the Douro – Cima Corgo, where the main property is located, and Douro Superior – managing around 220ha of vineyards. The brand produces about 1,500,000 bottles annually and is currently represented in 54 markets.
According to Andreia Freitas, ‘Over the last few years, Quinta do Crasto has made important investments in the modernization of the vineyards and winemaking facilities, which has allowed us to consolidate the production of high-quality wines, year after year. Wine tourism has been a strong bet in recent years, which allows us to show our visitors a unique heritage. The great concern is always the preservation of the Douro wine-growing landscape and, in the case of the buildings, to recover them while keeping their original features, but equipping ourselves with the most advanced technology.’
In addition, the estate offers unique experiences in its wine tourism offerings, emphasizing a strong relationship with the region and authenticity during the visit. All the visits go through the main places of the property, and it is possible to get to know a little better the production process or to see live one of the oldest and most emblematic vineyards of the estate, the Maria Teresa vineyard. All this proximity between the winemaking buildings and the vineyards is highly valued by those who visit Crasto. All the programs that combine wines with regional gastronomy, and that allow a longer authentic experience are always rewarding for the visitor.
What are the plans of the estate in the next years about sustainable tourism?
Quinta do Crasto has been developing sustainability practices in recent years in all its areas. The philosophy of their viticulture is to respect the balance of the terroir, its native fauna, and flora. Their viticulture techniques are based on a strong ecological basis, without the use of products not approved by regulatory authorities, ensuring total respect for the environment. As stated by Andreia Freitas ‘We have in our facilities an Water Treatment Plant and a WWTP, allowing us to treat water internally; we fight daily against food waste with the ability to conserve all the food that our garden offers throughout the year; we are changing the bottle model of some wines to a lighter and more environmentally sustainable one. Finally, there are numerous transversal actions, tourism is just one of the internal areas that are based on this philosophy.’
These are the many reasons why Quinta do Crasto is renowned in the wine tourism industry and has continually been affirming itself in the tourist scene, not only by the excellence of the service but also by the magnificent landscape and stunning views. Some of the numerous architectural references of interest of this estate are the centuries-old vineyards, on traditional terraces; the Pombaline landmark, dated from 1758; its outstanding and famous infinity pool, designed by renowned architect Eduardo Souto Moura; the centenary house of the beginning of the 20th century; the renovated cellar and last but not least the Chapel of Nossa Senhora do Amparo, which original construction dates back to the 17th century.
In conclusion, this is a wonderful place to visit and to enjoy this fantastic region, that is the Douro Valley.
Text by Wine Tourism in Portugal
Photos credits: Quinta do Crasto