Quinta da Ferradosa
Ferradosa's history can be traced back to the times it was the property of a bank, Banco Borges & Irmão, which belonged to the Borges family who owned many quintas - the name given to estates in Portugal, which have agricultural activities mainly related to wine and Port Wine - in the Douro. The Douro is the area surrounding the river with the same name, which starts in Spain and crosses Portugal from east to west. The river ends in Oporto, from where the wine was exported to all over the world, because of its geographical location. This is the origin of the name given to the famous Port wine, which was and still is produced many miles up the river in the oldest wine region of the world, which dates back to the eighteenth century.
Ferradosa was then sold to the oldest Port Wine company in Portugal, Real Companhia Velha, being bought by the Cálem family in the 1990s to become part of AA Cálem & Filho Lda, established in 1859. The founder was in fact my great-great-grandfather, and the company kept going until the twenty-first century, when my father decided to sell both the business and the brand, keeping the real estate for himself.
The fairly recent construction of the dam just a few kilometres down the river brought many great things to the Douro, like the possibility of big tourist ships up and down the river until Spain, but also killed, to some degree, the local traffic of people and goods from both sides of the river. Before, the river was so narrow that in summer, people could walk across it. In winter there was no way to cross the river and therefore ferry boats, which were in fact rowing boats, working 24 hours a day, would become the only means of transport across the two sides. There were also hundreds of people working on the many properties on either side of the river and all that contributed to an activity which unfortunately slowed down through time. Later on, a dam was constructed a few kilometres down the river, which made the water level rise, and the river, previously only a few meters across, became much wider. People then were afraid to pass, even in a big boat, since most could not swim.
The rise of the river also meant that most of the agricultural part of the property became submerged. In those days, the owner of Real CompanhiaVelha decided to remove what was left of the vineyard and transfer the plantation rights to other farms he had in the Douro, which contributed to the decrease of the potential of Ferradosa, and left it with no grapes, only olive and fruit trees.
My father, however, had a great passion for this particular quinta, where he planted thirteen hectares of the three main grape varieties, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca e Tinta Roriz. He was also responsible for bringing electricity into the property. He had great plans for the future reconstruction of the many ruins and bringing back the property to its grand times.
In 2006, my father passed away and I inherited Ferradosa, as none of my other brothers and sisters wanted to dedicate the time and money to rehabilitate this property, which was at the time extremely remote, inhabitable, and inhospitable.
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