After arbutus and water, now there is wine in Monchique

Carlos Gracias will produce the first regional wine in the Algarve de Monchique

Monchique is known for its medronho and water, but it may also be known for its wine. Businessman Carlos Gracias, who is going to launch “Terraços da Fóia” on the market in about a year, believes that this can happen.

It was on a vintage day that the Sul Informação he went to Quinta de São Francisco, on the north slope of Fóia, to monitor the harvest of the red grape variety, which will give rise to the first bottles of the red “Terraços da Fóia”, produced by the Sul Compound company.

The vineyard already existed, but «it was damaged by the fire of 2018», says Carlos Gracias. Then the owners, “who were the first explorers, abandoned it. The engineer Manuel Romão got the rights to this vineyard, but the exploration was left to us. It is a partnership in association with the Semedo family, the engineer Manuel Romão and Sul Compound».


harvest day

The first wine' will never be available before next year, in September. It will be a complex, high-altitude wine with very lively tannins. It will have to mature in wood, where it will make the two fermentations. Let's wait how it evolves. It is intended to be a product of excellence».

Also because the production is small, since it can give «500 or 600 bottles, we will have to put the wine on a higher level. That's the idea».

The ink-roriz strains were already planted, but Carlos Gracias wants to innovate and also planted the variety riesling, which will give rise, in the future, to a white “Terraços da Fóia”.

«It will be a white wine of altitude, which will get the terroirs from Alsace, from the Franco-German niche of the Rhine Valley”, says Carlos Gracias.

According to the businessman, «there are only four or five producers making wine with riesling in Portugal. It's an innovative project, let's see how the plants will adapt. If they adapt well, as it seems to be happening, I think we will have an interesting production here. Not in terms of quantity, but in terms of quality».



Still, for this white to reach consumers, the wait will be longer. «I think that only two years from now we will have production to enjoy the first white wines» produced in Fóia.

The relationship between Monchique and wine production is not known, but, according to Carlos Gracias, it exists: «I myself had the idea that there were no vineyards and wines in Monchique, but I did research in XNUMXth century municipal documents, and cattle, pastures, fruit and vines are spoken of as an activity. In addition, in conversation with local people, I discovered that there are producers with small vineyards for self-consumption that make wines and it seems that they are interesting».

For all these reasons, Carlos Gracias believes that a niche for the production of high-altitude wines in Monchique can be created. “If it works, if it is successful, due to the specificity, there could be a brutal growth. More producers will come. Nothing is closed, people get excited about ideas and there will be experts from everywhere wanting to taste the wine and new producers will appear to set up shop and also make wine from the municipality of Monchique».



But Sul Compound is not only in Monchique and even already has brands on the market.

The company “appeared to enhance the experience I acquired in recent years in the wine sector and not to lose the know-how, the knowledge and contacts I have made in recent years», says Carlos Gracias, who chaired the Algarve Wine Commission until 2019.

Sul Compound has four more registered brands, in addition to “Terraços da Fóia”: “Al-Mudd, with wines made with exclusive Algarve grapes, owned or bought, Al-Olea, with olive oils originating in the Algarve, Burgau , from a vineyard planted and developed in Burgau, with Sauvignon Blanc, and then there is the Calhou brand, which will produce wines from various wine regions. The aim is for it to be, for example, the wine “Calhou na Beira Interior”, or “Calhou na Bairrada”», explains Carlos Gracias.


Carlos Gracias with the reisling vineyard


About the sale of wines, the entrepreneur is not very concerned, since, «as the productions are small, I think it will create such a great curiosity that it won't be difficult to sell».

Even so, he explains, «I already have contacts with distributors and I already have wines at Intermarchés, the Al-Mudd».

But the idea is also to create a physical store. «We want to open a store in Portimão, which focuses on the marketing of our wines and regional products, with peer-to-peer partnerships, product by product. We are not interested in mass products. We want products from the Algarve. And I don't want to enter into competition with other stores, I want to set a differentiating character», he concludes.


Photos: Flávio Costa | Sul Informação




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