Herdade do Esporão

A Brief History

A Brief History

Little more than 170 kilometres southeast of Lisbon, near the historical city of Reguengos de Monsaraz, we find a landscape typical of the Baixo Alentejo region. It is here, amongst rolling plains, shallow valleys, occasional streams, corn fields, vineyards and olive groves, we find Herdade do Esporão.
Hill-top farms and small, whitewashed villages guard the memory of life that goes back to the Prehistoric times of tapirs and dolmens, then Iberians, Romans, Visigoths and Muslims and the many others who once settled here.
The Medieval history of the region began with the Reconquista of Monsaraz and Reguengos in 1232. Since then, wine and olive oil have become an indelible aspect of the region. The geographical boundaries of Herdade do Esporão (originally Defesa do Esporão) were only established in 1267, and have been practically unchanged since then, despite being the setting for bloody battles and heroic deeds over almost nine centuries.
mapa defesa
Soeiro Rodrigues, the judge of the city of Évora, was the first of many owners, who included Santiago Rodrigues de Vasconcelos, the Morgado D. Álvaro Mendes de Vasconcelos (who built the Esporão Tower) and the counts of Alcáçovas, who retained the property until 1973, the year it was acquired by José Roquette and Joaquim Bandeira.

In 1985, the first vintage saw the creation of the Esporão brand and the first wine produced by what was then Finagra, S.A.. In 1989, wine began being exported to what is now over 50 international markets.

Eight years later, Esporão entered the olive oil business with the acquisition of SPAZA (Sociedade Produtora de Azeites do Alentejo) – now Esporão Azeites.

Esporao Reserva Branco 1985
Esporão Reserva Branco 1985
At the heart of Herdade do Esporão stand three historical monuments: the Esporão Tower, the Esporão Arch and the Nossa Senhora dos Remédios Chapel, which is linked to intense and devout worship in the region that sees local people form a procession when the rains come late. The Esporão Tower, a symbol of standing in society and military power, is one of the most important towers illustrating the transition from Medieval times to the Modern Age in Portugal.
perdigoes vitrine
Parte de um vaso recuperado no Complexo Arqueológico dos Perdigões
However, if a journey into the past at Herdade do Esporão takes us back to the Middle Ages, at Herdade dos Perdigões (acquired in 1995), a mere 5 km away, the same journey involves the Neolithic and Chalcolithic, between 4,500 and 2,000 years before Christ, when the region housed a residential and ceremonial complex covering around 16 hectares.

Today, the archaeological complex is an important benchmark for research into recent European pre-history.

Discover more about Esporão’s history, retold by someone who is part of it, via a series of mini-documentaries “História de uma vida” (History of a Life), created by Jorge Vaz Gomes and 2034.