Dating from the 1500s, the ruins of the old, stone Casa de Covela, today composed of the facade of the original Renaissance manor house and the more recent chapel of St. Quiteria, bear witness to the centuries-old agricultural and cultural importance of the estate.
In more recent times, the Covela estate belonged to Manoel de Oliveira, one of the most important European film directors of the second half of the 20th Century and an incredible spirit who worked until his death, with 106 years of age.
With panoramic views over the river, the Covela estate covers 49 hectares, of which 18 are planted with vineyards that also mark the frontier between two typical villages of the lower Douro – São Tomé de Covelas and Santa Cruz do Douro, both recognized for their natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.
In 2011, after a period of neglect, Quinta de Covela was brought back to life once more by its two new owners, a Brazilian and a Briton with backgrounds in areas as diverse as finance, agriculture and media. Mindful of the prestige and excellent reputation the Covela wines enjoyed for years among wine lovers, the new partners opted to rebuild the estate’s old team, starting with enologist Rui Cunha, who had been involved in the original Covela project since 1992 and was head winemaker from 1998 onward.
The wines will continue to be intriguing assemblages of Portuguese and international grape varieties, with local Avesso and Touriga Nacional continuing to be the cornerstones for Covela blends. Arinto, Chardonnay, Viognier and Gewürztraminer complement Avesso in the whites, while Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot Noir – the three main Bordeaux red grapes – blend with Touriga Nacional for reds of strong personality.