Debra Meiburg MW Meets the Winemaker 125: Cristiano Van Zeller, Quinta Vale D. Maria
Debra catches up with Cristiano Van Zeller of Van Zeller’s located in the Douro in Portugal. Having been in the Douro for 300 years, his family were formally the owners of Quinta do Noval, which they sold back in 1993, after which Cristiano started his own project in 1996 with Quinta Vale D. Maria (which has been in his wife’s family for over 300 years). They discuss the steep terracing of the region’s vineyards and how Cristiano revitalized the property from a ruin with 10ha of vineyards to 40ha by renting or buying neighbouring vineyards which were part of the original estate.
Cristiano tells Debra that their primary product is dry red table wine, along with some whites, vintage ports and now moving into Tawnies. They discuss the challenges of marketing table wines from the Douro, given its reputation for mainly producing fortified wines, as well as what the unique characteristics of the Douro table wines are.