Country: Portugal

Ann and James Frost’s beautiful estate, where they live with their seven sons, dates back to 1633. The couple inherited the farm from Ann’s parents in 1999, replanting the vineyards under the guidance of viticulturist David Booth and oenologist António Maçanito. They have since devoted themselves to turning the weed-filled, abandoned property into a small (less than 13 hectares) yet successful organic winery. The fertile, rolling hills of Quinta de Sant’Ana are quite romantic, and with the estate’s historical elegance it has become a destination spot for weddings.

This area of Portugal, about 20 miles north of Lisbon, was once known for producing bulk wine instead of quality wines, but Quinta de Sant’Ana has been more than successful proving that top quality wines can be made here. The Frosts have maintained a philosophy of valuing hospitality as well as their role in the local community over profits, and live and work by a creed of “common sense” and “good people – good work.” Their decades-long dedication to their farmlands and to crafting their wines, all while raising a large family, is inspirational.

Country: Portugal

Victor Goncalves’s winery, Socalcos do Bouro, consists of five hectares tucked away on a hillside above the remote town of Bouro Santa Maria, next to the Cavado River. Just a few miles from the mountainous Geres National Park, the terrain here is beautiful – a scenic drive through the area might remind you of the Blue Ridge Parkway and hilly Appalachia. This land is so remote, Victor’s relative, an antifascist priest who fought for democracy against Portugal’s dictatorship in the 60s and 70s, used a barn on the property as his hiding spot from the secret police. To farm this challenging topography, stone walled terraces, known as socalcos, are carved into the hillsides to create vineyards.

Victor’s father-in-law, João de Deus Martins Antunes de Almeida, made wine here for 40 years, establishing the original iconoclastic style of the estate. Instead of selling off his grapes to large producers, João took pride in making his own wine, establishing one of the first brands in the region. In 2009, Victor took over the vineyards and historic stone building that serves as both a family home and garage winery. Making only 3,000 cases of wine a year, this is easily the smallest producer we work with, yet one of our favorites.

Country: Portugal