The Origins

To talk about the history of the van Zeller family is to talk about part of the history of the commercialization of Port Wine, a business to which the family has been linked for more than 400 years and uninterruptedly for 15 generations. After many decades in the North of Portugal, marketing and tasting Portuguese wines, the van Zeller family continued to deepen its roots in the Douro. A key moment in the direction that Portuguese wines are currently taking took place when members of the Van Zeller and Kopke families married - a family that inherited one of the oldest Port Wine houses. The childless marriage dictated that the title of Baron of Vilar be transmitted to the eldest member of the family, in this case, Cristiano van Zeller. In celebration of this union, Cristiano van Zeller united the coats of arms of both families, which became the symbol that to this day represents Baron de Vilar. On one side, the mythical van Zeller blackbird from the thirteenth century, and on the other, the moons of the Kopke dating from the eighteenth century. The story behind the title remained in the family, but was revived when Fernando van Zeller, 5th Baron of Vilar, wanted to perpetuate this name and unveil a new way of looking at wines, honoring the philosophy of his ancestors. He created a small company with the same name of the title to search for rare wines with good stories. Small treasures in liquid form, with high potential for storage and to represent the Douro on any table.

Fernando van Zeller passed on to his eldest sons the mission of making his dream last and, unfortunately, he did not live long enough to understand the contribution of Fernando and Álvaro. The wine business was in their blood, but experience in other houses - Fernando as a warehouse manager and salesman, and Álvaro as a winemaker - dictated the success factors of the newly created, in 1996, Barão de Vilar. The knowledge they gained in the Douro opened the doors of wineries and vineyards to them, but also to look for good wine opportunities. They built a warehouse for the rest of these wines, which quickly became small, due to the demand for customers and nectars that they had in ageing. In the production, purchase and sale of Port Wines and, later, DOC Douro still wines, they grew significantly in the following decades, conquering impressive market shares. In 2021, Barão de Vilar was the 7th largest producer in volume of liters and the 6th largest in sales volume. In 2023, the reflection arises that the designation, until then, of the company, did not fully reflect what is now the project of the brothers Fernando and Álvaro van Zeller – and of so many other people who contribute to the design of a collection of exceptional wines. This is how the Van Zeller Wine Collection S.A. was born.

Our facilities

At Van Zeller Wine Collection S.A., we operate in a wide range of facilities and properties, where every stage of the process is carried out with precision and dedication.

Adega Santa Comba da Vilariça, Vila Flor

A small boutique winery, equipped with the latest technology, dedicated to producing small batches of excellent Douro DOC wine from exceptional grapes.

Adega do Romarigo, Peso da Régua

A historic facility which, in the past, and under the management of Fernando Columbano, was responsible for the vinification of around 15% of the region's total Port harvest. Currently under the management of Van Zeller Wine Collection S.A., it has a storage capacity of over 6 million liters.

Armazém de estágio e envelhecimento de Vinho do Porto no Pocinho, Douro Superior

In an area of over 3000 m2. We set off on a journey back in time to the splendor and tradition associated with Port Wine. Large-capacity vats, casks, barrels and thousands of barrels, mostly made of oak wood, house more than a million liters of Tawny Port Wine that quietly ages and evolves into future batches of wines with age designations and vintages, guaranteeing the sustainability and unique quality of our commercial offer.

Centro de engarrafamento e logística

Located on a 12,000 m2 site, with a covered area of around 6,000 m2, we find one of the most recent and modern bottling plants, with a nominal bottling capacity of over 6 million bottles a year, in a single shift.

Our vineyards

Framed by the majestic mountains of the Douro, our vineyards tell the rich and passionate story of a tradition rooted in the steep slopes and distinctive terroir of this unique wine region. The Douro, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, gives our grapes an unparalleled character, resulting in exceptional Port and DOC Douro wines. The unique combination of schist soils, varied altitudes and singular microclimates creates the ideal conditions for the production of high-quality grapes, giving rise to wines that capture the authenticity and essence of the Douro terroir.

Quinta do Tombo, no Vale da Vilariça

Located in the Vilariça Valley, in the Douro Superior, a gently undulating alluvial plain, it has unique and privileged conditions for viticulture, with a terroir that is difficult to find in other parts of the Douro. The flat basin where the quinta is located, with small hills surrounded by granite escarpments, creates a particular and distinct set of factors. The soil is deeper, but with a high level of stoniness, and the climate is hot and dry, which gives the wines unique and distinct characteristics from the others produced in the region.

Quinta do Saião, em Vila Nova de Foz Côa

Quinta do Saião develops like a large natural amphitheater facing the River Douro. It is born from the full communion between nature and vine growing, preserving and enhancing the biodiversity and the historical, natural and landscape heritage of the Douro Superior region. This unique symbiosis, combined with meticulous organic viticulture, results in the production of truly unique and exceptional wines.

Quinta de Zom, em Freixo de Espada à Cinta

Quinta de Zom, em Freixo de Espada à Cinta. Located in the heart of the Douro International Natural Park, Freixo de Espada à Cinta is surrounded by an impressive landscape of nature and imposing cliffs. The climate is harsh and dry, with very hot summers and extremely cold winters. The schist and stony soils further intensify the climate. Just a few meters from the River Douro and the Spanish border, in a remote area, Quinta de Zom has a number of natural factors that contribute to the distinctive quality of the concentrated, highly mineral wines.

The founders

Fernando Van Zeller

Founding Partner, Chairman & CEO

Álvaro Van Zeller

Founding Partner & Winemaker

Rui Correia de Carvalho

Managing Partner

Sustainability

In the day-to-day work of our teams, we maintain a deep commitment to the planet and the communities around us. From the deep roots of our vineyards to the moment each bottle is carefully sealed, every step of our process is guided by environmental and social principles. Discover how we integrate sustainable practices into every aspect of our business, promoting environmental preservation and the well-being of present and future generations:

    •     Half of our vineyard area is certified organic and the other half is certified under Integrated Production;
    •     Reduction of CO2 emissions through cultivation practices;
    •     Carbon retention; - Use of renewable energies (solar panels);
    •     Water efficiency; - Reduced use of chemicals; - Valuing biodiversity;
    •    Certification of organic products; 

From this set of good practices comes the ISO 14001 Environmental Systems Management certificate, which we have held since 2014. We are proud of what we do today, but the constant search for new ways to reduce our environmental impact, support local communities and promote ethical agricultural and business practices remains a living organism. We believe that innovation and collaboration are key to achieving our goals for the future:

     •    Increased reduction of CO2 emissions;
     •    Constant commitment to precision farming systems;
     •    Continuous search for efficient water management practices (reduction of water consumption in treatments, irrigation efficiency).
     •    Constant search for product components with a reduced environmental impact;

Policies

As a brand committed to excellence and the satisfaction of our consumers, we strive for the highest standards at every stage of our production process. 

Our mission is clear: to produce products that not only meet, but exceed our customers' expectations. 

To achieve this goal, we are committed to strictly adhering to the highest standards of quality and food safety. We are committed to ensuring that every bottle in the Van Zeller Wine Collection S.A. is a testament to our dedication to excellence. Our vision is future-oriented, focused on fostering an organizational culture that values and prioritizes quality and food safety at every level of our structure. We recognize that this commitment involves not only our employees, but also our partners and suppliers, in a joint effort to achieve the highest standards of performance. 

Since 2015, Van Zeller Wine Collection S.A. has proudly held IFS Food safety certification, reinforcing our commitment to transparency, responsibility and the trust of our consumers.

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