For many wine-lovers the idea of owning a private vineyard and making their own wine may seem like a faraway dream. But not to the ambitious team of Quinta dos Vales, who have come up with a unique way of making winemaking accessible to any dreamer.
Located in the heart of the sunny Algarve, Quinta dos Vales has long been synonymous with high-quality award-winning wines, and has now set out on a journey of sharing their experience with other like-minded enthusiasts by allowing them to rent or purchase a plot of vineyard on their estate.
The idea that inspired this project is a simple one: you don’t have to be a wine expert to be able to produce wine from your own vineyard. The expertise and guidance provided by this renowned winery means that the private winemaker participants are free to choose how much they involve themselves in the winemaking process each year, the quality of the end product is always guaranteed.
Karl Heinz Stock, the founder and owner of Quinta dos Vales was also personally the creator of this project. He based it on his own experience, when he left the oil and real estate business of Moscow, and instead started producing wine in Portugal. “We offer our participants the chance to buy a plot which will produce approximately one barrel of wine per year, resulting in 288 bottles. Why exactly this size? Filling the barrel means that the private wine can be produced separately from the remaining production, while the volume of 288 bottles is a reasonable amount for a couple to get through in a year. Part of those they will obviously be able to consume themselves, but it still leaves enough bottles so that they never have to worry about finding personal Christmas presents again.”
Quinta dos Vales currently has 180.000m2 of vineyard plantation, including grape varieties unique to Portugal, such as Touriga Nacional, flourish alongside international varieties. To date just over 8.000m2 of this plantation is dedicated to The Winemaker Experience, so either rented or owned by private wine-makers. This means there is still plenty of room for expansion, and Quinta dos Vales plans to dedicate more and more of its plantation to The Winemaker Experience each and every year.
Professional guidance is the key to making aspiring wine-makers feel secure, Karl Heinz explains: “For each step along the winemaking journey we give our participants a technical explanation, explain the available options, and give our expert recommendation. Whether the step in question is when to harvest the grapes, how to blend the wines, or any other factor which will influence the profile of their desired wine. 2020 showed us that this approach even works remotely, our participants weren’t able to visit us, but were kept fully informed and in-control. Photos, videos, emails and WhatsApp were a huge help, and when it came time to taste the wine we would send them samples to wherever in the world they were. Most of our participants cannot wait to come back and get their hands dirty in the vineyard again, but this experience proved to us that even remote-production is possible.”
Karl Heinz Stock understands the needs of the private winemakers perfectly, as he, too, began by simply having the desire to own a vineyard: “Back in 2006, when I decided to turn my dream into a reality such an option unfortunately did not exist. So when I worked on creating The Winemaker Experience I thought about my positive as well as my negative experiences since I started, and I aimed to create the perfect experience for the 2006-version of myself. The main point I wanted the participants to avoid is having to enter the business of selling wine, it may sound like fun but it is not. Wine production is exciting and rewarding, whereas wine distribution is simply a tedious process. Where I wanted the focus to be on is honest communication and education of the participant, because if you truly understand the steps along the way, the connection you have with this wine is truly something special. Our participants can honestly say that they are the architects of their respective wines, and I guarantee that each one of them fully believes that their wine is the best in the world. This feeling, this pride, that’s what I wanted to share.
In addition to the opportunity of owning a vineyard, Quinta dos Vales also offers the opportunity to purchase a holiday-home, overlooking these vineyards. “The Vines” development is made up of 32 modern villa-suites, which can either be used as full-time residences or as holiday-homes with a rental return. This combination allows wine-lovers to fully immerse themselves in the wine-maker lifestyle.
Quinta dos Vales
For further information on The Winemaker Experience please visit www.docs.quintadosvales.pt/twe_more.html.