Quinta do Casal da Granja was originally called Quinta da Carvalha, and was dedicated to a diverse agricultural production: vines, cereal, vegetables, apple and fig trees. There was also a reference to the gathering of livestock, with the total area of land reaching 30 ha.
The Quinta was purchased by Real Companhia Velha in 1968, and since then its was transformed into an exclusively wine producing estate.
Since the objective had been to increase wine production levels, it was fundamental to increase the area available for the culture of the vine. In the following years, many smaller neighbouring parcels where purchased, enlarging the property to its current figures of 100 ha of land, in which 77,83 ha are vineyard.
The geographical characteristics and the climate at Quinta do Casal da Granja provide it with the ideal conditions for the production of a sweet white wine affected by the noble rot.
During the 2002 harvest, the winemaking team selected a small amount of Semillon that had naturally been afected by the noble rot for an experimental vinification, with an attempt to produce a late harvest wine. The result was surprisingly positive. This initiative was inspired on a text extracted from an old oenology book (*) which divulged the work of french winemaker Professor J. Laborde, who in 1910 has produced a late harvest wine for Real Companhia Vinicola do Norte de Portugal (later was aggregated to Real Companhia Velha) at this very Quinta, and branding the wine “Grandjó”.
In the months of Autumn, the Quinta is subject to a morning dew followed by warm afternoons with good sun exposure, which create the favourable conditions for the natural development of the fungus Botrytis Cinerea on over-ripe bunches. The wine, produced using very sophysticated technology, resulted in a one of a kind Late Harvest wine that was very much complemented by critics as well as becoming very popular in the market.
This low yield harvest usually occurs during the first week of November up until Christmas. The grapes are hand picked in a very laborious process as in some occasioes, it is required to harvest more than once in the same vine, picking only the bucnhes that are affected by the Botrytis at the right level.
Recently, the company planted areas of vineyard in lower grounds, in which the earth is more fertile and more humid, showing better conditions for the production of Late Harvest Wines.
(*) “Vinificação Moderna”, by Pedro Bravo e Duarte de Oliveira, manufactured by Oficinas de «O Comércio do Porto», in 1925