We have the pleasure of Christoph Kranemann’s company in an interview by the cloisters of the Quinta do Convento de São Pedro das Águias, in the Vale do Távora. As we talk, his gaze is one of permanent contemplation. He could have chosen to produce wine anywhere in the world, he even considered doing so in Australia, but when asked "why here?", his answer is accompanied by an even more passionate look, "Have you ever seen a place more perfect than this?"
The first time I came to Portugal was in the 1990s for a medical conference in the Algarve. It was around then that I became more interested in wines, especially after another trip to Australia at the end of the 90s when I ended up visiting around 200 wineries out of sheer curiosity. So, what can you get up to in Australia? Visit the Outback and get bitten by an animal, or discover wines? [laughs] I would always choose the second option...
When I met my wife, Dina, my interest in Portuguese wines started to blossom. That was around 2004. But the first wine that left a lasting impression on me, and a very big one at that, was a Barca-Velha which we opened at dinner in a restaurant called Pabe in Lisbon. I remember it perfectly. This wine was quite simply brilliant, I have never forgotten it... As I travelled more frequently to Portugal, it was only natural to gain greater knowledge of the local wines. I remember a visit to Quinta do Crasto, here in the Douro, where, during a magical dinner, some simply fabulous bottles of old port were opened.
I only discovered Quinta do Convento much later, in a chance conversation with a friend who commented that he knew someone interested in selling a fantastic estate in the North of Portugal. I, of course, wanted to find out more. The deal was closed after my first visit to the estate.
Have you ever come across a more perfect place than this? The vineyards, the river, all this fantastic landscape ... the architecture ... I have German ancestors and I have always been very interested in architecture and history, so this twelfth century convent, with these cloisters and all these memories, is a kind of perfect place that brings together all the things I like the most. It's a magical place!
We want to be project of excellence, which, through wine production and wine tourism, can help to boost and make this this very particular region of Tabuaço and Vale do Rio Távora well known. We will do this by focusing on what makes this area special: its altitude, freshness, schist and granite soil. As my interest in wines grew, I also began to pay more attention to issues such as the terroir, the geology and the behaviour of different grape varieties in distinct soils. We have a rich legacy here which allows us to produce wines with a very special profile. The wealth and originality of not only the table wines, but also the fortified wines in Portugal and the Douro is something quite special that I really value. Being able to improve on this wealth is an enormous privilege and opportunity.