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Algarve winery Quinta dos Vales launches The Winemaker Experience, a unique project that gives oenophiles the chance to own a vineyard and make wine to their own taste

Algarve based winery Quinta dos Vales has created The Winemaker Experience, a unique project that sees wine-lovers become wine-makers, with the help of a dedicated team of professionals. The only project of its kind in Portugal, it is an exciting opportunity for aspiring winemakers, who now have the chance to own a vineyard and make their own wine, in a completely hands-on approach, without having to invest millions or having to go back to University to study oenology for years.

Set among rolling hills, close to the town of Lagoa, a short drive from some of the region’s most beautiful beaches, Quinta dos Vales currently has twenty plots of vines available, ranging from red to white grapes, including Portuguese varieties such as Touriga Nacional and Alvarinho, as well as French varieties like Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, which can either be rented or bought.

Although the project was created in 2017, it is only just now being marketed, as its founders were adamant The Winemaker Experience be properly fine-tuned first. Not only did the team need to learn the ins and outs of micro-production, but they also needed to understand how to guide and educate participants in a way that would keep them fully informed, without overloading them with information. After four successful harvests, accompanying a group of international aspiring wine-makers, the team felt confident the project was well and truly ready to take off.  

How involved each aspiring winemaker is in the process, from the beginning of the production in the vineyard, to the winery, is their choice. They can either roll up their sleeves and take part in every step, or tell the winery team what their preferences are and let them do the work. The result is a yearly barrel of their own wine, that is, 288 bottles, with their personalised label, to share with family and friends or business associates.

In order to appeal to every type of wine-lover, Quinta dos Vales owner Karl Heinz Stock has created four gradual steps to becoming a winemaker, and to owning a vineyard.

  • The first is a 3-hour introduction to winemaking called the Bottle Blending Workshop (from €62 per person), during which participants learn the art of creating a unique blend with the best wines on offer at Quinta dos Vales.
  • Then there is the Barrel Blending Experience (from €5.472), which enables wine-lovers to produce their own 225 litre barrel of wine, with samples of existing unblended Quinta dos Vales top wines.
  • For those who are more ambitious and wish to take on the winemaking challenge from the very beginning, there is the possibility to Rent a Vineyard (price starting at €5.472 per year). This is the perfect opportunity to get a taste of winemaking, without a long-term commitment. It is a one-year lease, on one of the established vineyard plots of the estate, for a single harvest, to produce a vintage with the resulting grapes. 
  • Then comes the most exclusive option, the “crème de la crème” of The Winemaker Experience, buying a plot in the vineyard. This step turns winemaking into an exclusive hobby or, who knows, into a new lifestyle. By buying a plot of vines with the Own a Vineyard scheme, participants can make their own wine without the risk of starting a business from scratch, and at a fraction of the price.

Participants can either choose an existing vineyard plot or plant new vines on available virgin plots. Prices range from €30.000 to €60.000, depending on the grape variety and the location of the plot. The additional running costs include everything from the work in the vineyard and the winery, to all the materials used and the consultancy provided. Quinta dos Vales will then hand the finished product to the Private Wine-Maker, with the wine properly aged, bottled, labelled and boxed. The only extra cost being the shipping of the wine, if necessary.

The experience can even be handled remotely. Whenever one cannot be on-site personally, the team ensures that owners are fully informed and in control, whether with photos, videos, WhatsApp messages, emails or phone calls. They can even taste and blend at a distance, as the team will send samples with notes and recommendations. 

 

ABOUT QUINTA DOS VALES

Quinta dos Vales is the creation of German entrepreneur and artist Karl Heinz Stock, a place where his two biggest passions, wine and art, come to life in bold and daring colours. Surrounded by more than 20 hectares of vineyards, what used to be a run-down farm has been transformed into a modern wine estate, with its own sculpture park, events centre and holiday accommodation.

Regarded as the Algarve’s leading winery, Quinta dos Vales has consistently produced award-winning wines, year after year, some of which have been distinguished with the “Best Wine of the Algarve” award, seven times in the last eleven years.

For more information, please visit www.quintadosvales.pt