As Taylor Fladgate continues to add to its vineyard holdings in Portugal's upper Douro Valley, the well-known Port house plans to increase its production by as much as one-third -- which should make it easier for consumers to get their hands on its top-notch vintage Ports.
Recently, the firm purchased the 100-acre Quinta de Sao Xisto, spending about $1.5 million to acquire and replant the property. Currently, the majority of the site is an olive grove that runs along the Douro River. Only 12 acres of grapevines are under production, but Taylor Fladgate aims to plant another 59 acres by 2003.
Taylor, whose vineyards holdings include Quinta de Vargellas and Quinta do Junco, had purchased a portion of Sao Xisto back in 1993 and then completed the acquistion late last summer. Sao Xisto is adjacent to Vargellas, where the wines will be vinified.
"1999 is the first year that we can legally produce Port from those 5 hectares [12 acres], and already it has produced outstanding results," said Adrian Bridge, marketing director of Taylor's Port. Sao Xisto has been classified as a "Grade A" vineyard site -- the highest ranking in a 100-year-old system of classifying Port vineyards by characteristics such as site, height, soil and age of vines.
"As a company we wish to own more vineyards," said Bridge, who noted that Taylor Fladgate currently owns 25 percent of all the vineyards from which it sources grapes. "With the purchase of Junco in 1998 and now Xisto, we are planning to increase our overall production by an average of 33 percent."
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