I was born in Évora and, although I went away to work for a few years, I feel very attached to my city. In this city, we have a very particular charisma and high quality of life. I returned when I was 21 and ended up working at Fundação Eugénio de Almeida, where I’ve been for 15 years.
At Cartuxa, winemaking began in the 1980s with pre-existent vineyards (some over 80 years old) and our first harvest produced the Cartuxa, in 1986. There’s always a story behind each one of our brands. Pera Manca is the iconic brand, of which we've only sold 14 times. It’s a wine made from our oldest vineyards, always using the same varietals, but that we only launch in exceptional years. It’s during its resting stage in wood that we’ll see if it will qualify as a Pera Manca or not.
Our History sets us apart. My team and I know that our work will help those in need in our homeland and that makes all the difference. The way we welcome our clients is also unique because we work to provide a service that’s beyond excellent. That in a way is enabled by the Alentejo character, we enjoy meeting people, and we enjoy food -- there’s always cheese, wine, and sausages at the table and the door is always open.
When touring the cellar, we talk about the History of the 16th-century building, the residence of the Jesuits who were teachers at the University of Évora. The visitors walk through a little corridor of aromas where they can practice before the wine tasting. For the tastings, we have several of our wines and olive oils, Cartuxa ham and Alentejo bread.
We've been growing vineyards using a biodynamic process for some years now, but we’ve only launched two organic wines recently.
Our story and mission
Fundação Eugénio de Almeida was created in 1963, and today it still operates under the same rules established by its founder Vasco Maria Eugénio de Almeida. The mission of the foundation is a social, cultural, educational, and spiritual one. The founder, Vasco Maria Eugénio de Almeida, was an extremely religious man who cared for the region and the people who worked with him. In the 1980s, the administration board decided to begin winemaking as a way to monetise the institution.
For people to better understand our work, during the tours, we talk about the family and the foundation’s History and show a small video on the production cycle.
We have always been concerned about keeping our plants healthy, and we try to be as close as possible to the vineyards to prevent issues. At the moment, we have 60 hectares to produce only organic wine.
Adega Cartuxa was our winemaking cellar until 2007 but, at the moment, we only use it for a part of the wine ageing process. The building is originally from the 16th century but was bought by the Eugénio de Almeida family in the 19th century when it was Government-owned property.
The art of welcoming
When I was studying in the Algarve, I missed the tranquillity of Alentejo. In Évora, we have great infrastructures, and we can easily reach anywhere. Furthermore, cultural events have grown in recent years. It’s a beautiful city when it comes to heritage, people are always ready to help, even if they don’t speak your language, and they’re great hosts. Our cuisine and wine make that job easier.
Sustainable tourism is a growing reality in Alentejo. We live off tourism, but we remember to keep our traditions alive, which is crucial.
There are great producers in Alentejo, and we can no longer speak of high-quality wines as distinctive because they’re all high-quality wines.
When it comes to wine, Alentejo has some of the best varietals producing high-quality wines. And then we are centrally located, with is another great thing about Évora.
Food is definitely another of our calling cards. To any visitor coming to Évora for the first time, I’d recommend black pork, asparagus “migas”, “açorda” (Alentejo-style soup), and our sweets. You can’t escape the convent sweets!
Mosteiro de Santa Maria Scala Coeli is close by. It’s also known as Convento da Cartuxa, a still active Carthusian Convent. When the religious orders were extinct in the 19th century, the monks abandoned the monastery that was later bought by the Eugénio de Almeida family. Later it was restored by request of Vasco Maria Eugénio de Almeida who invited the monks to return, with the permission of the then archbishop of Évora.