The new cellar completely changed the life at winery, upgrading working conditions to an optimal state. Besides being a stunningpiece of contemporary architecture, designed by Carvalho Araújo, one of the most eminent Portuguese architecture studios, it is a highly functional building.
Comprising storage, packaging and production areas, as well as locker rooms, office and laboratory, it allows centralizing the different branches of work in the company, while optimizing their management and coordination.
Integrating state of the art technology – temperature control, nitrogen generator, peristaltic pump, vibrating and sorting tables – it also ensures optimal conditions for handling and protecting the wines as well as responding to the increasing logistic demands in preparing and expediting orders.
The Medieval Cellar
As the “modern” equipments were moved to be part of the new cellar,space was left open for the embodiment of a new idea that had been fermenting in Vasco Croft’s mind for years – to create artisanal wines in a monastic, silent atmosphere. Where all the work as to performed by hand, using only hand operated tools, like in the medieval times.
Reflecting on the dependence on technology, which does not require the active and full use of one’s own body and life energies for work, together with the discovering of wines still made in ancient ways, created this desire.
Industrial wines’ soullessness being directly related with the loss of connection between man and nature, also in the cellar, there is the urgency to recover the human heart, and consequentlythe heart of wines, by reestablishing the connection. Through the simplicity of using head, heart and hand together, and experiencing the whole winemaking process with one’s whole body and senses, one alters one’s relation to the wine, and the wine also acquires a different quality, a different energy.
The medieval cellar has 6 Portuguese amphorae (Talhas), from 90 to 120 yearsof age, 1300 liters each. These come from Alentejo, South of Portugal, where they were used as the main vessels for winemaking since roman times until mid 20th century – an almost extinct tradition.
Grapes are crushed and de-stemmed in a wooden table, the juice and skins being immediately moved to the amphorae, to stay for some weeks in skin contact. Then a layer of olive oil is left on top of the wine during the winter, to protect it during the winter, while it rests and stabilises.