Terroir and Vineyards

Terroir and Vineyards

Quinta das Murças boasts a unique terroir in the Douro, which is the result of a combination of an unusual geography of large valley running east to west, a very special climate that is tempered and attenuated by the Douro riverfront, types of soils which are exposed in different ways according to the topography and, importantly, the vineyards with dozens of Douro grapes. At the estate, the extremely poor schist soils nourish dozens of regional grape varieties, which benefit from many hours of sun. Currently, all production is in the process of being certified as organic.

All the plots are graded A, the highest category that Douro vines can aspire to, occupying areas at an altitude of 300 metres and zones closer to the large riverfront, alternating between vertically-trained vines, in which Quinta dos Murças was a pioneer, and terraces, the more classic Douro method. Vertically-trained vines are used on slopes with a gradient of up to 47%, with plots divided into slopes and roads. On steeper slopes, narrow terraces with a partition were constructed with just one row of vines.

It produces Douro table wine and port, two of the best and most well-known Portuguese wines. It has around 300,000 vines, some planted as far back as 1947. These are vertically trained or planted on terraces, occupying areas at an altitude of 300 metres and close to the riverfront. The vineyards enjoy different exposures.  In addition to the vineyard, there are also 6,000 olive saplings and a large grove with 800 orange, tangerine and lemon trees, as well as other fruit trees. The rest of the area is forested.

Some of the vines date back to the 1940s (the oldest were planted in 1947), generally in mixed vineyards, alternating with new vines which produce dozens of traditional Douro varieties. Among the most representative and represented are Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cão and Tinta Barroca, the five varieties recommended for top wines, as well as the increasingly popular Tinta Amarela and Tinta Francisca. Of the 58 hectares of vines planted at Quinta dos Murças, around 10% are just over 65 years old, 60% are between 25 and 40 years old and the remaining 30% were planted more recently, between 2009 and 2010.

In the five hectares of vines that are over 60 years old, no anti-pest herbicide is used, with this aspect of control undertaken manually. There are two areas of old vines, one situated at an altitude of 110 metres and the other at 300 metres. Of the 30% made up of new vines, five hectares employ organic production methods.