Founded in 2004 by Christopher Price, an English film sound engineer and his wife Helga Wagner a german sound editor, Vinhos Cortém Is a small (4.5 hectares) organic winery set in the hills and valleys a few kilometers east of Caldas da Rainha. Although the agriculture in this area is now predominantly fruit growing, 70 years ago only vines were cultivated and winemaking was the main activity as the many old wineries and presses bear witness.
Our vineyards were layed out and planted in Cortém in fields not used for 30 years. We sourced the sixteen different grape varieties now growing in the vineyards from Portugal and France, using them for the blends we make. The grapes have been fully certified organic since 2010 and the wines from 2012. All the work is done by us and a small team of local people. We are the winemakers and have learnt the art of winemaking ourselves through hands on experience, and of course though many conversations with other winemakers. It seems that the terroir of Cortém is helping us to make honest and tasteful wines as the various awards and customer enthusiasm shows.
The wines are made traditionally with hand-picked grapes, de-stemming, crushing and 2 days of cold maceration until fermentation starts with natural yeasts at first. To finish the fermentation we add a standard yeast from the champagne region. Fermentation is for 3-4 weeks in open tubs of 1000 litres each, with covering to exclude air and maintain humidity of the cap, and with manual press-down twice a day, waiting until all fermentation has ceased. The new wine is racked and the pressing is done in a traditional manual basket press.
Situated in the Estremadura, (Lisbon Wines) in the DOC Óbidos region, the vineyards are set in hilly country near Caldas da Rainha about 15Km from the Atlantic. The climate is temperate to cool, with a strong maritime influence and summer temperatures seldom above 30 degrees. Sea mists at night in summer provide moisture to the vines through the leaves. No irrigation is needed.
We invite you to taste, explore and enjoy our Cortém wines. That is what wine tasting is for, a voyage of discovery to lead you to the wines you enjoy best and would like to drink again at home and with friends.
So a wine tasting may turn into a party at the end and that's a good sign, but above all we need to concentrate on our senses and what they say to find out if a wine appeals to us. This may take some time, above all the aroma of the wine gives us hints of what's to come when we take our first sip! Saude!
At grape harvest time (Vindima) we welcome anyone who wants to help and share the experience with us and enjoy a day in the vineyards. It is hard work but good company. A great lunch cooked by Helga and of course Cortém wine to drink, makes the day.
Join our newsletter for the latest updates and offers
© Vale de Cortém Vinhos Biologicos Lda