Roots that tell stories...
Casa dos Lagares is a family-run business that has been linked to wine and vineyards for several generations. It has always been located in Cheires, in the Douro Region, framed within a strong historical and cultural determinism.
In the seventeenth century, a primogeniture was established, a house (with a turret that still exists), a chapel (dating from 1659) and other structures were built. These buildings created a farm and the current village of Cheires. It is the starting point in this story.
Initially the growing of fruits, cereals, horticulture, etc., was the main function of the farm. Its goal was to supply other production units located closer to the Douro River and began to specialize in the production of wine, requiring food to support the growing agricultural workforce. These were the early days of the production of Port Wine.
The growth of Port wine exports lead to the gradual extension of the vineyard area in the Douro Region and its demarcation. Early crops were replaced by the vine and the olive oil, which became the main activity of the farm, leading to the creation of new structures such as wine and olive oil mills.
Wine production never ceased and went through several cyclic periods of expansion, followed by periods of depression. Factors such as great political instability and vineyard diseases (e.g. phylloxera), mark the nineteenth century.
In the early twentieth century, the farm entered a golden age, when viticulture went through a period of expansion, and it was considered to be a modal farm. Simultaneously, the family belonged to a social elite that will have a strong influence on regional circumstances.
The first attempts to market bottled wines, new technologies, labels and even brands appeared (without the currently required registration).
In the following decades, however, viticulture went through a critical period. With the emergence of Cooperative Wineries, the farm’s production was mainly grapes, leading to the progressive abandonment of warehouses and to the degradation of the farm buildings.
For decades after the winegrowers restricted themselves to the utilization of the vineyards.
In recent years this trend has been reversed. The vineyard was renewed in order to mechanize it and to select the best grapes varieties. Wine production and its trade were resumed and, during this stimulating challenge, the farm infrastructures was progressively restored, maintaning its originality, creating authentic settings and places of culture and leisure.
With more than three centuries of history, this heritage has its own journey and tradition, whose roots are in viticulture.
It is the result of cycles of changesand constant adaptation to new challenges, realising that there is no future without knowing and acknowledging the past.