We had the pleasure this week of visiting the winery that produces Sir Cliff Richard’s award winning Vida Nova & Onda Nova wines – the Adega do Cantor (Winery of the Singer)
It’s actually hard to believe that the vineyard is situated directly behind the busy N125 at Guia Shopping, the views from the entrance are so peaceful and rural:
The entrance is wide and impressive and leads to the estate which includes the Cellar Door shop which is open to the public Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm (they are closed for lunch from 1-2pm) and also the meeting point for the tours.
There are several tour times throughout the day, depending on the time of year and availability. You can find out the timings and book online via this link to their website. The price is €7.50 for the tour and wine tasting, and they can also arrange for transport with pick-up points across most of the Algarve – full details are on their website.
We were met by the charming and friendly Geni Barros, a local Portuguese lady whose English was excellent. An employee of the vineyard, her obvious love of the estate and the production of the wine was evident and she was a charming tour guide.
Our tour began outside at the old drying area with its spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and the three separate vineyards that make up this estate.
Even in the middle of January the estate has a charm and openness about it, with local workers busy pruning the vines by hand, and the area has a peaceful calm and old-fashioned tranquillity.
The first section of the tour gives an explanation about the three estates which combine to produce the Vida Nova and Onda Nova wines; the types of grapes grown on each estate, and the influence that the soil, the climate and the weather all have upon the vines.
The oldest vineyard, Quinta do Moinho, is Sir Cliff’s, planted in 1997 after he decided that he would rather grow grapes than figs!
Quinta do Miradouro was established in 2001 and is owned by Cliff’s business partner in the estate, Mr Nigel Birch; and the third vineyard, Quinta Vale do Sobreiro, was established in 2004 and is now owned as a partnership for the company.
It was very interesting to hear about the differences between the three vineyards and how they combine different grapes from each to create their unique wines.
There seems to be a very nice balance between modern technology, like a Smart-Dyson trellis system which vertically divides the vine canopy to aid the ripening process, alongside traditional methods which includes the fact the grapes are all picked by hand.
Modern technology was certainly in evidence in the second area of the tour, at the winery, where the whole wine-making process is explained, and the machinery involved in the process is shown.
And then it was on to the cellar – our favourite bit!
With a capacity of only 150 barrels, the cellar really had a boutique and exclusive feel to it, and it is here that the vineyard’s philosophy of producing wines to the highest possible standard using a combination of traditional and innovative modern winemaking techniques is most evident.
There is a charm to the cellar area with its French and American Oak barrels lined up, and it was here that the wine tasting part of the tour was given surrounded by the barrels.
Geni introduced us to four different wines, all of which tasted fabulous.
The first was a 2013 Onda Nova Verdelho (single variety of grape) white wine which was crisp and refreshing. This was followed by a 2014 Vida Nova Rosé, which was my personal favourite. Two reds followed, a 2009 Onda Nova Shiraz; which was handsomely rounded off by the finest of the wines, a 2009 Vida Nova Reserva.
The tour takes about an hour, and gives ample time to ask questions and find out more information, after which time you are led into the Cellar Door Shop, and given a very good deal on wines at the end of the tour – for example a single bottle of Rosé wine was €8 and you could buy two bottles for €10 on the day.
The shop was a very interesting mix of objects and memorabilia, as well as wine for sale, you could purchase small items like fridge magnets and bookmarks, T shirts and baseball caps – and view signed photographs and objects displayed all around the walls .. A Cliff fan would certainly be happy to spend some time looking around the shop!
It was also interesting to see how many awards this vineyard has been given for its wines – this is not just a pop star’s personal hobby, this is a small but professional vineyard that takes the production and quality of its wine very seriously – and has been justly rewarded for this many times within the industry; which is especially remarkable considering they are still a ‘young’ vineyard pitching against many more-established and larger operations.
There is a charm to this tour that is hard to beat – you really have a sense of understanding the land and the traditions of wine-making, alongside the sensible use of the latest in modern technology which goes into making each bottle of wine.
But what impressed us most was how small and peaceful the vineyards are; and with a maximum production capacity of only 150,000 bottles of wine each year, and with each vintage the amount produced varying each year from between 110,000 and 150,000 bottles; there is a sense of exclusivity to the wine – that doesn’t just come from the famous name on each bottle.
We will definitely return again!
You can find out more information about the tour and wine tasting via our listing in our algarvedirectory pages – click here
Please note although we were on the tour at the invitation of the vineyard; all comments, views and images are our own.