To explain to you the history of the Quinta de D. Carlos wedding venue in Portugal, we decided to use the book The Art of Portuguese Wine Estates. This book explains the history of this beautiful wedding venue in Portugal to precision! Read the exert of the book The Art of Portuguese Wine Estates, below, by António Marreiros Neto and José António Fonseca and discover the magnificent history that is treasured in this stunning wedding venue. Also please be marvelled by the stunning picture, that was painted by Serrão de Faria.
Quinta de D. Carlos, with an area around of 75 hectares is located in Mecca, the municipality of Alenquer, along the National Road no. 9, which connects that village to Merceana. Passing by one can see the stately farm-house surrounded by vineyards and protected with a long stone wall, several centuries old.
The estate has belonged to the same family since the 1570’s and resulted from the consolidation of several plots of land.
Its first owner was Simão da Cunha, grandson of the famous navigator Tristão da Cunha. In 1514 Tristão da Cunha was appointed as ambassador in Rome to the Holy See of the then Pope. Leo X. He presided over a luxurious and famous embassy full of treasures and exotic animals from several recently discovered territories.
Among those animals there was a white Indian elephant that became the Pope’s mascot and is represented in numerous engravings and paintings of that period.
This was certainly the most notable promotion of Portugal ever undertaken. Still today, 500 years later, it is still spoken of in Italy. In 1992 this embassy to the Holy See was rebuilt and during the Universal Expo in Seville a great display on the day was dedicated to Portugal.
The magnificent farm-house with unusual dimensions for the region was built in the 1650’s. Its simple architectural style, drawn by D. Manuel da Cunha, Bishop of Elvas - confessor of D. João, Duke of Bragança, future king D. João IV - brother of D. Pedro da Cunha, the owner’s house at the time.
While Quinta D. Carlos’ house was being built, D. Manuel da Cunha ordered, at his own expense, the construction nearby of the Olhalvo’s Monastery. The graves of Simão da Cunha, first owner of the farm, his grandfather Tristão da Cunha and his father, were transferred into this Monastery.
Later, during the first quarter of the 19th century D. Carlos da Cunha, Lisbon’s Patriarch, brother of the then owner D. Francisco da Cunha de Mendonça e Meneses, Marquis of Olhão and Count of Castro Marim, spent a long time on the estate, which, after his death, got his name.
Since the end of the 19th century the vineyards and wine production represent the main activity of the property. The farm was one of the first producers in the region to introduce foreign varietals.
Currently, around 15 hectares of pine trees have been planted on the sloping hills where mechanical means of grape harvesting cannot be used.
During the eighties and nineties of the last century the then owner D. Frederico da Cunha de Mendonça e Meneses, Marquis of Valada and Count of Caparica, totally replaced the existing 50 hectares of vineyards, introducing large national and foreign varietals such as: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional for the red grapes and Arinto, Viognier, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc for the white ones. The purpose was to produce and sell high quality wines under own brands.
15 generations separate D. Frederico da Cunha from his famous ancestor Tristão da Cunha; 13 generations separate him from the farm’s founder Simão da Cunha; 11 generations from D. Manuel da Cunha who made the drawing of the house one can admire today and 6 generations from the first Marquis of Olhão and his brother, the Cardinal D. Carlos da Cunha, who gave the name to the estate.
Quinta D. Carlos, from the end of the 1980’s until 2002, developed a joint venture with another regional producer. After the end of that partnership the management began to convert part of their grapes’ production into wine resulting in the bottling with the brands Quinta D. Carlos and Marquês de Valada.
Marquês de Valada, red wine, blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon Marquês de Valada, red wine, monovarietal Cabernet Sauvignon Quinta D. Carlos, white wine, blend of Viognier and Arinto Quinta D. Carlos, white wine, monovarietal Arinto
Quinta D. Carlos, red wine, blend of several varietals mainly Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon Quinta D. Carlos, red wine, monovarietal Cabernet Sauvignon
For the time being these brands are only sold in the internal market in well-known restaurants and hotels while part of the grape production is sold to important regional wine producers due to its high quality.
Diogo Sepúlveda is the oenologist and Francisco Vasco is responsible for the viniculture.
In 2004 after a major restoration of the main house, a large area was devoted to hiring the venue for social events.
The management is also planning to transform other supplementary spaces – mainly old stables and coach houses – in order to develop eco-tourism, mainly wine tasting and guided visits.