Centuries-old gardens and endless vineyards are just some of the ingredients that make Adega Velha what it is today. Find out what makes this story so special.
All stories have a beginning. Adega Velha’s begins in 1971, by accident with a “secret message” in a bottle. That year, António Guedes found a bottle that had been left aging by his father – perhaps a secret, perhaps forgotten. Not knowing what it was inside, or how long it had been there, António gave in to curiosity – and decided he had to share what he found with the world.
Stories also need a scenery. Adega Velha’s is in one of the most beautiful wine regions in Portugal, marked with autochthonous grape varieties, and tempered by cool weather and sea winds. The gardens reveal centenary trees and exotic species like the Japanese cedar, the swamp cypress, the California redwood, and more than 90 species of camellias. The XVI century architecture and tearoom by the lake add to the charisma. An enigmatic Goat Tower houses a friendly family of pygmy goats.
The scenery of this story wouldn't be complete without the Old Winery, a very special building in the Aveleda estate. It was the first to be built, in 1885, with a capacity for 280 wine barrels when, at the time, only 12 wine barrels were produced. Since then, the low-lit cellar holds wines and brandies, delicately aging in French oak casks from the Limousin region. Upon entering, the visitor is embraced by the aroma of damp wood and subtle Gregorian chants, that blend together creating a mystical atmosphere.
However great the scenery, it is always people who make and tell stories. Since the winery’s foundation, cellar masters held vigils to ensure its perfect temperature and humidity conditions, and five generations have tended the vineyards.
And, of course, great stories feature small, crucial details. A closer look reveals some of them, like the glass dome that holds the very first bottle of Adega Velha brandy, or the bottle brought from Russia which served as inspiration for the current design.
Stories like this don’t just happen in films or novels. This one is still being written, every day. More than a window to a distant past, the Old Winery allows visitors to experience its legacy. At Adega Velha, there are wine tastings, and for those who have more time, firewood oven bread baking workshops, wine painting sessions, and oenology masterclasses. The balcony overseeing the Sousa Valley is a perfect setting for delicious meals starring the Estate’s wines.
For those looking to extend the trip and bring a piece of this experience back home, there are plenty of wines, brandies, cheeses, and jams to choose from. Just like any great story, this one is universal: from here to the four corners of the world, these bottles carry the history of these brandies. With the sunset over the vineyards, it is easy to imagine credits rolling and ask the question: can we go back to the start, and live it all over again?
About Adega Velha
Adega Velha is a brand of brandy by Quinta da Aveleda, created in 1971. Since then, the brand has naturally evolved: nowadays, Adega Velha can be enjoyed all over the world, and the beautiful Old Winery estate is a popular interest point. The most important things, however, never change. The principles that steer this brandy production are the same as ever, as is the commitment to quality, the respect for nature, and the care for artisanal production.
Carefully aged, Adega Velha evokes smooth and velvety aromas, with a clean and sophisticated finish. To savour it is to pause time, in a complete experience, full of flavour and personality.
- Where: Quinta da Aveleda, Rua da Aveleda, n.º 2, 4560-570 Penafiel, Portugal
- When: Visits to the gardens upon reservation, with prices starting at 12€
- How: reservations can be made online or via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, Monday to Friday, from 9h to 18h.