Situated next to the Galician village in Alenquer, Quinta de Chocapalha has had vineyards referenced since the sixteenth century. Acquired in the 1980s by Alice and Paulo Tavares da Silva, the property is now one of the most recognized in the Lisbon region for the quality of its wine.
The 45 hectares of vineyards of Quinta de Chocapalha, scattered around the Galician Village of Merceana, are well taken care of, with as an epicenter a house built in the late eighteenth century that belonged to its former owner, a Scotsman named Diogo Duff. The landscape doesn't fool. We are in portuguese extremadura, characterized by ups and downs, small hills, curves and countercurves. The micro-climate is defined by the Montejunto Mountain Range. Who takes care of the vineyard is the well-known winemaker Sandra Tavares da silva, daughter of the owners – Alice and Paulo Tavares da Silva – who lives in the Douro, where she also owns wine along with her husband. But that's not why you stop coming to visit your parents several times, to take care of the vineyards and miss them.
Since 1987, when it was acquired, the farm gained new breath. At the time, the property was thought to be a place where the family could gather, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. But the vineyards were mistreated and had to take care of them. Thus, in 1989, some investments began to be made, such as the replacement of strains that were made from time to time, in a process that lasted in total – with intervals in the middle - more than two decades.
More recently, the construction of winery was the great novelty. With bold architecture, erected on a slope a few meters from the old winery, the new building fits perfectly into the landscape. In addition to the technical structure, the administrative part and a shop where visitors can purchase the wines produced there operate. The main grape varieties in the reds are The Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Syrah, already in whites, are Arinto, Verdelho and Chardonnay to give letters.
Initially, the grapes produced were sold to producers. With the improvements made and the structure assembled – and logically the support of the wine-like daughter – Alice and Paul felt confident in moving forward with the creation of their own brand. A bet more than right to see for the quality of the wines.
The bet on wine tourism
Visiting the vineyards, the winery and tasting wines are the activities promoted by quinta de Chocapalha. Here is to highlight the fact that visitors are always greeted by some family member. You can visit the vineyards and also take a walk along the farm, including forest, dam and orchard. On the visit to the winery, the winemaking techniques and methods are known. From the arrival of the grape in the cellar to the traffic jam, you get to know all the steps of the wine production process. Visitors also pass by the place where wine is stored to age, and can even taste from the barrel itself if they wish. The visit ends with wine tastings that may or may not include snacks.
If you want something more elaborate, such as a lunch, dinner or a wine workshop taught by someone on the oenology team, it's just a matter of booking. In harvest season there is also a special program for those who want to participate. Before leaving, the visitor can finally stop by the store if you want to take a 'bebable souvenir' to enjoy at home.