Introducing Vila Santa

The beauty of the Alentejo plain, its culture, hunting and its rich gastronomic tradition make Estremoz a captivating region. Founded in 1258 by King Afonso III, it was home to King Dinis. One of its early prominent citizens was Vasco da Gama. He was appointed commanding officer of the fleet that discovered the sea route to India.In the very heart of the Alto Alentejo, the soil that originated from schist and limestone clay as well as the climate with its continental influence, make for unusually consistent quality, and ideal conditions for exceptional wine growing.

This was the location chosen by João Portugal Ramos to make his own wines, after a long career as consultant winemaker in the main wine-growing regions of Portugal.

 

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João Portugal Ramos began planting his own vineyards in Estremoz in1990, choosing the double cordon for vine spacing. Since then the area covered by vineyards has increased, with the main objective of obtaining from each vintage a selection of grapes capable of producing exceptional wines.

For the reds, the chosen grape varieties have been Aragonez, Trincadeira, Touriga Nacional, Castelão and Alicante Bouschet, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Merlot, although in smaller quantities.

In the minority, white wines originate from the varieties Antão Vaz, Arinto, Roupeiro, Rabo de Ovelha, Verdelho, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc.

Own vineyards and long-term agreements with local producers contribute to form a total of 600 hectares, with the viticultural department being responsible for the entire technical management: choosing the plots of land, selecting the grape varieties, following closely the development of vineyards and preparing harvest.

The beauty of the Alentejo plain, its culture, hunting and its rich gastronomic tradition make Estremoz a captivating region. Founded in 1258 by King Afonso III, it was home to King Dinis. One of its early prominent citizens was Vasco da Gama. He was appointed commanding officer of the fleet that discovered the sea route to India.

In the very heart of Upper Alentejo the soil that originated from schist and limestone clay, as well as the climate with its continental influence, contribute for unusually consistent quality and ideal conditions for exceptional vine growing.

This was the location chosen by João Portugal Ramos to make his own wines, after a long career as consultant winemaker in  the main wine-growing regions of Portugal.

The Team

Biography - João Portugal Ramos
The visionary of a new world for the Portuguese wine.

Born into a family with a long history of wine production, João Portugal Ramos obtained a degree in agronomy from the Institute of Agronomy in Lisbon.

After a period of training at the National Viticulture Studies Centre in Dois Portos, in 1980 he began his career as an oenologist in the Alentejo region.

João Portugal Ramos established his winemaking consultancy business Consulvinus at the end of the 80's with the aim of dealing with the various requests from several producers all over the country. In this way, from 1989 onwards Consulvinus extended its activity beyond the Alentejo region to Ribatejo, Península de Setúbal, Dão, Beiras, Estremadura and the Douro.

João Portugal Ramos also participated in the recovery of renowned and distinguished Portuguese wines and revitalized regions that were becoming forgotten by both wine-lovers and consumers.

Biography - Donzilia Copeto
Winemaker at João Portugal Ramos Family Estates  (Alentejo)

Donzilia successfully completed her post-graduate in oenology from  Évora University following a degree in agricultural, food and engineering industries from Instituto Politécnico de Beja.

In 1996 she started working for João Portugal Ramos Family Estates and in 1999 she became winemaker as well as production, quality and food safety manager.

Biography - Joaquim Faia
Vineyard Technical Manager at João Portugal Ramos Family Estates (Alentejo)

Having successfully completed both a degree in agricultural engineering and a post-graduate in oenology from Évora Univeristy, Joaquim started working for João Portugal Ramos Family Estates in Alentejo in 2001.

He is the vineyard technical manager in the Alentejo.

Winery

Vinification

Depending on the profile of each wine, vinification takes place:

- In stainless steel tanks: temperature controlled fermentation following a long maceration;

- In marble throughs (lagares): part of the harvest is foot trodden in traditional shallow, open marble troughs and partly de-stemmed.

Vinification

Quality

Cellars

Ageing is one of the big secrets in the creation of a wine, and so a wine cellar is always a magical space. In the cellars the wines are aged in small 225 litres barrels of French and American oak, waiting for the appropriate resting period prior to bottling. The time required for ageing in wood varies according to the character and profile desired for each wine.

 

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Source: Peter Anderson and Ben Baumberg, The alcohol in Europe: a public health prespective - Report to the European Commission, 2006.
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