In the array of Vinho Verde brands, Aveleda is one of the biggest, if not the biggest of them all. It is a huge business and one of the first in the region to reach such commercial status. Since its creation in 1870, the company has succeeded in staying family owned and is now at the 5th generation. The Guedes family is closely linked to the Vinho Verde production and history. They’ve been part of the regions innovation in their own way. For example, Aveleda was the first estate to bring extensive use of vine organization in rows instead of pergolas, thus, greatly enhancing efficiency.
Obviously, from an estate producing a total of 17 million bottles per year including the #1 sold Vinho Verde in the world: the Casal Garcias labels, I had some factory-style expectations. I was partially right, as we arrived, we could see rows of humongous stainless steel vats and we knew we were at the right place. However, everything afterwards was a completely different world. The generous and gorgeous garden hides some unique treasures and follies such as a giant 200 years old Eucalyptus tree and a Manueline Window from the 16th century where D. João IV was supposedly pronounced king. Also, once in a while between the diversity of trees, plants and flowers, we would get a glimpse of the infinite rows of vines surrounding the estate.
The contrast that I felt on site was also present in the wines. As I was expecting some simple mass market wines, I was astonished to discover that their premium wines are nothing close to simple and easy but instead truly unique and characterful.