The earliest records mentioning Quinta do Crasto and its wine production date back to 1615. It later received Feitoria status (the highest vineyard classification of the time), together with the other noteworthy estates of the Douro Valley. Between 1758 and 1761, the Marquis of Pombal ordered the installation of 335 granite markers–each standing two metres high and 30 x 20 centimetres–to delineate the first ever Demarcated Region in the world. One of these stone pillars, or “marcos pombalinos” in Portuguese, dates back to 1758 and can still be seen today at the Quinta do Crasto near the century-old farm house. In the 1940s, all of these markers were inventoried and declared Property of National Interest.
When Leonor and Jorge Roquette took over in 1981, Quinta do Crasto was focused on Port production. Over time, they have revitalized and extended the vineyards to produce an additional selection of dry red and white wines focusing on native grape varieties. The two most special cuvées, Vinha Maria Teresa, and Vinha da Ponte, are red blends from old vines and, inspired by the estate’s Ports, are only made in the best years, the grapes trodden under foot once they reach the winery (a practice broadly mechanized otherwise).
In 2013, the barrel cellar was renovated to enable greater temperature and humidity controls, becoming the first Portuguese winery to use the OXOline barrel management system: barrels can be stored in higher stacks to make better use of space, and sit on individual rollers enabling lees-stirring via rotation, without having to open them up and thus let oxygen in.
Despite such modern techniques, the family is keen to respect the estate’s ecological heritage and is currently creating a genetic map of the vineyards so as to maintain that identity, and boost biodiversity.