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Adega Cooperativa de Vidigueira, Cuba e Alvito was founded in its present form in 1960, but its origins are intertwined with the history of the Vidigueira itself, and with Vasco da Gama – the Portuguese explorer and the first European to reach India by sea – to whom D. Jaime, Duke of Bragança granted the town in 1519.
The name Vidigueira itself being derived from the Portuguese “videira” meaning "wine", it goes without saying that viticulture is deeply rooted in the volcanic soils of the region.
The rolling plain that extends to the south and west, the Serra do Mendro range to the north, and the River Guadiana that forms the border to the east, determine the unique characteristics in the vines that give rise to the wines of Vidigueira - one of Alentejo’s 8 DOP subregions.
According to Jancis Robinson, Vidigueira “marks the dividing point of the upper (Alto) and typically lower, hotter (Baixo) parts of the region. Its relative proximity to the coast and cold air descending from the serra de Portel [50 km long] escarpment tempers the heat, hence the region’s tradition of making white wine from Antao Vaz” - indisputably the Alentejo region wine grape par excellence. In fact, it is practically only in the Vidigueira sub-region that old Antao Vaz vines can be found.
Loosely clustered and thick skinned, it is particularly well adapted to the sunny climate of the great plains surrounding Vidigueira boasting strong resistance to drought and disease.
However, Vidigueira’s best kept secret remains the at least 2,000 years old tradition of making wines in amphoras – the Vinho de Talha.
Adega Cooperativa de Vidigueira has remained faithful to the traditional process, making their talha wine in the most artisanal way from century-old bush vines that have withstood the passage of time.
Planted in the heart of the talha wine zone, these vinhas velhas (old vines) from Alentejo’s indigenous white varieties give rise to denser bunches of grapes producing intense wines, full of character.
To preserve and revive the original practices of this ancient know-how, the cooperative has inaugurated in October 2019 the Casa das Talhas where visitors can embark on a voyage to test their senses and unveil the techniques used in making authentic talha wine.
It is worth noting that the ultimate reference for Talha wines, Professor Arlindo Maria Ruivo has learned the art of this ancient winemaking technique in the 1960s from his father-in-law who founded the Adega Vidigueira cooperative winery.
The Cooperativa has its own Choral Group of Cante Alentejano – a form of song designated UNESCO Intangible World Heritage. In 2015, Vidigueira was named cooperative of the year by the specialist wine magazine “Revista de Vinhos”.