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The Quinta das Carvalhas has a prominent position on the left bank of the Douro River facing Pinhão. It covers the whole of the hillside facing the Douro river extends over the summit – which is crowned by the dominated Casa Redonda, a guest house visible from miles around – and occupies part of the upper slopes of the right bank of the Rio Torto. It is most certainly the largest Quinta in the whole of the Douro Region and undoubtedly the jewel of Real Companhia Velha crown.
Written reference about Carvalhas can be traced back to 1759 although was much more recently that Carvalhas was expanded to its current size of 600 hectares.
In 2006 Real Companhia Velha celebrates 250 years of existence and uninterrupted activity on behalf of the Porto Wine trade. Behind, there is a fabulous history and a glorious past. For the future there is the continuous commitment for quality and the confidence of a well established company with the vigour and the vision to make further history.
Since its foundation by Royal Charter of King Dom José in 1756, many Kings have reigned in Portugal and the importance of Real Companhia Velha is well demonstrated through the numerous services to the community and the support of the majestic privileges granted by Queen D. Maria I, King D. João IV, Queen D. Maria II and King D. Pedro.
Besides the fact that not many companies have existed for so long, specially in the wine trade, what makes Real Companhia Velha unique is the way its own history is intimately linked to the history of the Porto Wine trade and to the history of Portugal itself.
For more than one century, between 1756 and 1865, Real Companhia Velha played such an important role in the Porto industry, as regulatory body, as well as trade promoter, that it can be said, the history of the Company is almost the History of Porto.
Since its primordiums, the company’s activities were designated to protect and to develop the prestige and the sales of Porto Wine- Portugal’s number one export product of that time. In fact, the importance of Porto Wine for the Portuguese economy in the middle and late 18th century was such that in 1799, Porto Wine represented more than 50% of the total Portuguese exports.
On the 7th December 1865 by Royal Decree of King Regent Dom Fernando who declared free the exports through the Porto Harbour of all wines produced in Portugal, the company lost its majestic privileges and became a public company trading in the open Porto market continuing to develop the reputation of its name all over the world.
(Article and photos courtesy of realcompanhiavelha.pt)