Founded in 1931, adega Regional de Colares emerged to defend and preserve the genuineness of Colares wines. In the golden times of the 19th century, the vineyard area surrounding the village of Colares surpassed the thousand hectares. Today, there are just over twenty left, of which not all are exploited. The effort of the Regional Winery of Colares has been exemplary in an attempt to regain the fame and status of this characteristic wine.
The area that corresponds geographically to the Designation of Origin "Colares" is located between the Sintra mountain range and the Atlantic, bringing together the parishes of Colares, São Martinho and São João das Lampas. Records are not known until today that indicate when the first vineyards were planted here, being the oldest reference dated 1154, contained in the Charter of Sintra. Over the centuries, wine has always been planted in the region, and its production and fame have lived several periods and ups and downs. The region is also renowned for being the only one escaping phyloxera disease, which devastated European vineyards in the 19th century, as the deep sandy soils of Colares, often reaching 8 meters, did not allow the insect to attack the roots of the plant. Thus, the well-known Ramisco grape variety wine from the 'sand floor' of Colares continues to come from 'franco foot' vineyards, i.e. obtained from a 100% European plant without American bacelo, as it exists throughout Europe. Its plantation continues to require enormous effort, given the depth to which they often have to put or 'unite', the bacelos. Being a plant that gives work, needs great attention, and gives rise to scarce production, it is now a rare wine.
Phyloxera, the devastating insect necklaces endured
The presence of this devastating insect in European vineyards was referenced in Arles, Provence, France, in 1863. Throughout the surrounding area of the Lower Rhône, plants with symptoms were detected. The leaves withered and fell, the new sticks were devoid of vigor and the grapes did not reach maturation. Three years after the onset of the disease, the plants eventually died.
At the time, one of the most surprising issues was that the sick plants plucked from the soil did not practically have root system, without apparent reason for this. However, the disease has latched. Finally, in 1868, Professor Jules-Emile Planchon of the University of Montpellier associated the presence "of an almost invisible insect, which develops underground, producing thousands of descendants and capable of unleashing the destruction of the vineyards more vigorous." What insect was it? Planchon, recognizing that it had a winged phase, found it similar to the insect causing identical symptoms in oak leaves, phyloxera quercus. Given the terrible effect this disease had on vineyards, destroying its root systems, this pharmacy teacher and well-known entomologist classified it as Phylloxera vastratrix, the devastating phyloxera. At that time, the origin of the insect was not established.
In the 19th century, it was a common practice to collect special botanical species, classify them and subsequently plant them in different ecosystems. It was this activity that led to the introduction of Vitis Americana, Vitis Labrusca, in Europe, despite the recognized inability to produce quality wines. But such imports brought with them devastating diseases to the vineyard, such as the mildew, mildew and phylloxera. The great advantage of American plants is their resistance to the disease: they are carriers, but immune to phylloxera.
During the 1970s, the idea of planting European strains on an American strains base was developed, which would constitute the root part of the plant and contribute to solving the problem. But the damage was already very high, and many years would pass until the optimization and widespread use of rootstocks. The alternatives were not many: soil fumigation, flooding, abundant watering of the vineyard with a solution of sulfurocarboret, use of sand soils – although not always obtaining the desired wine quality – among others.
The appearance of phyloxera occurred for the first time during the ovid crisis and, ironically, the pest may have resulted from the import of vine plants to evaluate the resistance to the idea. In Portugal, filoxera first appeared in 1867 in the Douro region. The plague destroyed numerous vineyards and led to the abandonment of culture in many places, all over the country. This is how special necklaces are understood throughout this history.
Adega Regional de Colares appears in August 1931 and started with 81 partners, at a time when the first movements of agricultural associativism began. With foreign markets closed due to the Great Depression period, thousands of liters of Necklaces were stopped in the warehouses, and the affiliation in the cellar became the most viable solution to defend the genuineness of The Necklaces while having sufficient space for producers to save surpluses.
In 1941, adega Regional de Colares began to perform functions of public interest, having the exclusivity of the certification of wines in the region. With consumption increasing, particularly with the increase in the colony market, Adega met excellent results, and at the end of the 1960s production reached one million liters. This loose period prevailed until the cut in exports caused by the Overseas War, which eventually installed a new crisis. So it was during the following decades, with ups and downs until, from the mid-1990s, the Institute of Vines and Wine published the legislation on the winery and the demarcated region, thus allowing major improvements at various levels. Gradually, old equipment was replaced with more modern ones. The commitment to the creation of own brands was the most significant investments, as it facilitated a new response to the markets, although through clean productions.
Ramisco, queen caste of the region
Bernardino Cincinnato da Costa (1900), reputed agronomist and Portuguese teacher, considers it "an ink variety of the most notable in Portugal, for the pleasant taste and perfume that prints to the wines it originates", and adds: "Freshness, grace, perfume, taste, delicacy, softness, nothing missing from them, when from good tilles, to be complete wines."
Production conditions make achieving a maturation balance often difficult to achieve. In addition to some sensitivity to diseases such as mildew and odium, Ramisco plants originate grapes with normally low alcohol contents, between ten and a half to twelve percent volume, high acidity and great tanninity, which prevents their consumption with pleasure as young people, requiring a long maturation.
The stains are not normally intense, the aromas can initially remember wildberries and some resin. In the mouth are fresh wines and strong adstringência. The adulterations to which they have been subjected over time make it often the opening of an old Necklaces can be a lottery.
Adega Regional de Colares today produces wines from sandy soils (those that gave fame to the wine of the region) but also of hard, cheaper and accessible floors, but also typical of the region. It has the brands Arenae - DOC Colares (white and red), complex wines from sandy soils; Rijo-Regional Lisbon Floor (white and red), wines that hold the quality seal, from non-sandy soils; and Serra da Lua - Mesa Wine (white and red), unpretentious wines to be served at any time. In addition, the winery continues to supply wine to bottler companies that buy and sell it through its brands.
In 1995, UNESCO's recognition of Sintra as a World Heritage Site came to give new impetus to Colares wine, and the winery is the largest responsible for wine production in the region.