Quinta de Sant'Ana has been producing wine since it was founded in 1630 but it had seen better days when Ann’s parents Gustav and Paula von Fürstenberg purchased the property in 1969, a most idyllic place to bring up their children. The old vineyards were interspersed with fruit trees, potatos and garlic, divided into a romantic but chaotic patchwork of different cultures. And the beautiful winery, which had produced over 80,000 liters of wine in its heyday, lay practically dormant.
Gustav and Paula embraced the Portuguese style of life in the country and set about improving things: land was cleared, drains were laid and the ground prepared for plantation. But fate was against them - amidst the political uncertainty of the 1974 "Carnation Revolution", the young Fürstenberg family fled back to Germany, and for almost 20 years, the estate was left semi-abandoned. The Quinta's caretaker, José-Maria Pereira, continued living here with his family, lacking the means to properly maintain the Quinta's 40 hectares. Winemaking continued the traditional way, but most vineyards and the winery were neglected. The Fürstenbergs returned to spend their summers in the 1980s, but the wine project would have to wait...
James and Ann arrived in 1992. Participating in the wine harvest allowed insight into traditional methods of winemaking, using the ancient, partly medevial equipment - the results were often dubious!
In 1999 we decided to make a foray into the viticultural world and planted 2.4 hectares of new vines: Aragonês, Castelão, Fernão Pires. Our home-made wine became somewhat more drinkable, but most of the grapes were sold. It was only in 2004 that the project was formally launched when James' army friend and viticulture David Booth introduced us to the 24 year old António Maçanita, since then our winemaker. Over the next few years a further seven hectares of vines were planted. The Adega (Portuguese for winery) was modernised, stainless-steel tanks replacing the old chestnut fermentation vats. We installed a state of the art cooling system, introduced modern equipment and an ever-growing collection of French Oak barriques. The Quinta now has eleven different grape varieties planted.