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The vineyard


The Alentejo is a region with a long tradition in wine cultivation, going back to Roman times. Located in this famous region, the vineyards that are the source of the Hereditas wine are at the foot of the Serra de Sousel, north of Estremoz, and have a cultivated area of 14ha.



Grape varieties


Among the great variety of grapes, native or of French origin, that can be found in the Alentejo, Aragonês, Alicante Bouschet and Cabernet Sauvignon were selected for the red wines.

Regarding the white wine varieties, they are all traditionally from the Alentejo: Arinto, Roupeiro, Antão Vaz and Fernão Pires



"Terroir"


We owe the quality of our wines not only to the varieties used, but also to a natural and exceptional combination of geological and climatic essentials: the "Terroir".



Geological Aspects:


The dominating types of the Mediterranean soil are gray and red schistose soils. They are characterised by their chestnut or red colours with a muddy-clay texture. The pH is around 6.0 and the percentage of organic material is 1.5 %. The crumbly top layer at a depth of 70-80 cm meets the transition to the original substances: coarse-grained sandstone and chalk.



Climatic aspects:


As Portugal is characterised by a Mediterranean climate, sometimes with a continental touch, it has a special variety of the Mediterranean climate, with very hot and dry summers, and rains falling mainly in the cold season, with some irregular showers.

Our vineyard is situated in the Alentejo, a generally rather flat terrain; very close to the Serra de Ossa (649m high) under the influence of a microclimate being caused by the Serra. This microclimate is characterised mainly by a slightly higher rainfall compared with other regions more to the south, important enough in our climate to have some fog and mistiness that can emerge during the ripening period of the grapes. These conditions are quite favourable; they permit the vineyard to remain “active”, and are beneficial to the natural ripening of the grapes, and to achieving their finest state.

The average annual rainfall here is 650 mm with 3000 hours of sunshine. Temperatures during the summer can reach 40ºC or more.



Work in the vineyard


The vineyard is physically split into two parcels Cardeais and Amarelos, and is sited north-south with a pattern of 2.50m x 1.10m (3636 plants/ha). Although exposed to a very hot and dry climate during the summer, the vineyard is not watered. This is an option in favour of quality. The earth was worked thoroughly, before planting, in order to loosen up the sometimes rocky underground, permitting the later development of the roots in depth, enabling them to reach the indispensable moisture, stored in the subsoil. Apart from this aspect other cultivating methods, such as turning over the ground between the rows during the spring and the beginning of the summer, are indispensable for the maintenance of the humidity of the subsoil and permit the 650 mm of annual rain, concentrated between October and April, to be sufficient. The plants show normally some hydrological moderate stress during the maturing stage of the grapes, very favourable for the concentration and quality of the must.


Among the various activities in the vineyard during the annual growing cycle, mainly manual work, pruning, green pruning and pruning down of the bunches, is undertaken. This has a great importance in the equilibrium and longevity of the grape-vine as well as in the process of the physiological maturing of the grapes.

The pruning down of the bunches carried out in our vineyards normally aims to leave 6 to 8 bunches on each plant, depending of course on the size of the bunches of the different types of grapes. The production in general does not exceed 5-6 tons/ha.


The vineyard is a part of the “Integrated Production” system where the phytogenic sanitary treatments are limited to the use of environment-friendly phytopharmaceuticals. Under our climatic conditions the number of treatments in each campaign is reduced. The conditions favourable for mildew arise only at the beginning of spring, while the oidium appears between the blossoming and the start of the colouring of the grapes.

Concerning pests, only the green leafhopper persists in appearing every year at the beginning of the summer. We do not carry out any treatment against botrytis. We might occasionally make a simple defoliation in a sensitive area as a means of prevention of this fungus. The bunches show to be completely healthy at the harvest.



Time table of the work in the vineyard:

- Pruning is done between December and the end of February, leaving 6 to 8 stumps with two shoots on each stump.

- In February weeding along the rows

- From February to July turning over the ground between the rows

- From the beginning of March (when the buds start growing) to mid July (start of the colouring of the grapes) the phytogenic sanitary treatments take place.

- Green pruning in April and May

- Pruning down the bunches in July.

- Harvest from the end of August and during September