The Quinta

Estate History

Est. 1633

A book with many pages

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.

1633
This is the first date we found in the Quinta de Sant'Ana's history. High demand for wine from Lisbon places emphasis on quantity rather than quality

late 1800s
King D. Luis gives Quinta de Sant'Ana to his mistress, actress Dona Rosa Damasceno. He builds her a theater and himself a gate in the bordering walled royal hunting grounds, through which he would on occasion visit

1968
Ann’s parents Gustav and Paula von Fürstenberg purchase the property, that had passed ownership frequently, including the Portuguese crown

1974
The "Carnation Revolution" changes the young Fürstenberg family's fate and they flee back to Germany

1984
The Fürstenbergs return to spend their summers with their family of seven children, but the wine project would have to wait...

1992
James and Ann arrived to live in the Quinta with a sense of adventure, lots of energy and a bit of innocent naivety; the idea was to give the quinta a face lift while having some fun

1996
U-turn: after growing close to people and land they decide to settle down with their own young family and the ambition of making the best wine in the area

1999
First plantation by the Frosts of 2.4 hectares of new varieties: Castelão, Aragonez and Fernão Pires - our home-made wines became somewhat more drinkable

2004
This changes with the arrival of António Maçanita, our winemaker, who came introduced to us by our late friend and viticulturist David Booth and we really get stuck into the wine project - a dream coming true. Soon we get a taste for our first success...

Quinta de Sant'Ana

Just 30 minutes north of Lisbon lies the enchanting Quinta de Sant'Ana, a historic family run wine estate.