188 Kinds of Wine Grapes Growing at Herdade do Esporão in Portugal

Posted on: May 17th, 2012 by

Herdade do Esporão Portugal Wine

Why are they growing 188 kinds of wine grapes at Herdade do Esporão winery in Portugal? And why is this giant rock in the middle of this vineyard? Let’s start by tackling the first question.


As one of my colleagues on this press trip, Pamela Busch, observed, this is probably the only place in the world you’ll see Zinfandel planted next to Silvaner. As to the why, Viticulturist Pedro Nogueira explained that this is all an experiment to see what grapes might work here depending on both the shifting climate and the shifting preference of wine drinkers. While not chasing trends, there is a natural curiosity on the part of Pedro to see what happens when small batches of wines are made from these grapes.

Now to the big rock. The plan was to blast it into a million little pieces but, according to Esporão’s Marketing Director Filipe Caetano, there was such strong sentiment by many people to save it that it seemed like bad karma to destroy it. The fact that the rock had meaning to people and, seemingly, a reason to be there was good enough to keep it intact.

Now, how long do I have to wait before I can get a bottle of Portuguese Zinfandel?

I am an invited guest of Esporão who is the sponsor of this press trip.

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