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11 December 2014 17:51


Image5Founded in 1920, by the brothers José, Manuel and Albano Costa, the company dealt at first in the trade of Douro fine wines and liquors. In the thirties, however, due to a bill passed by the government that prohibited the production of Port Wines outside the O’Porto limits, the company shifted its activity to the trade of Bairrada Table wines and launched itself in the production of natural sparkling wines in the “champenoise” method, with the help of the renowned French oenologist Gaston  Mainousson. This way, in the forties, the company expanded the trade of its wines by exporting to the Brazilian market and to the Portuguese colonies in Africa.

Nevertheless it is the 1950’s that will gain Caves São João notoriety in the Portuguese wine trading landscape. The company begins to sell DOC wines, creating two of the most celebrated Portuguese brands: FREI JOÃO of the Bairrada region, and PORTA DOS CAVALEIRO, of the Dão region.

In 1972, the company acquired the Quinta do Poço do Lobo, a rural estate with 35 ha, located in Pocariça, in the Cantanhede region. The estate was then totally replanted with selected grape types and carefully parcelled out. With the grapes obtained from those vineyards, Caves São João produces a red Bairrada wine, a sparkling wine and a “varietal” Cabernet Sauvignon commercialised under the brand QUINTA DO POÇO DO LOBO.

Image6Having passed to descendants of the original owners, CAVES SÃO JOÃO is the most ancient wine trading company still in business in the Anadia County. Allying history and family tradition throughout generations to the most modern and efficient production methods, CAVES SÃO JOÃO is aiming today to exceed all expectations. In the beginning of this century, after investments in the vinification and quality control areas, the company is fully prepared to face future challenges in wine production, always alert to the market evolution and anxious to satisfy the ever more refined taste of demanding customers.


  • Extract from ‘TheFood and Wine Lovers Guide to Portugal’. Charles Metcalfe and Kathryn McWhirter.  “Caves São João seemingly endless underground tunnels of wine-bins are stacked high with bottles – Caves São João, may well hold the largest stock of old unfortified wine in Portugal. And it’s very good wine.”
  • Caves São João by Hugh Johnson’s 2010: Small, traditional firm for very good old-fashion wines. Reds can age for decades. Is a well known and highly reputed winery.
  • Bairrada Region by Hugh Johnson’s 2010: Bairrada is a well known and highly reputed region. Reputation for astringent reds from the challenging Baga grape being laid to rest since law permits different grape varieties.


Image7Jose Antonio Neves Carvalheira has been the winemaker at Caves S. Joao since 2002. This 39 year old enologist soon started to make his mark in the Portuguese wine industry. After finishing his degree he was invited to become a teacher in a wine

Jose is not just the winemaker consultant at Caves Sao Joao but he also belongs to the “committee” of taste for the Bairrada Demarquet region. His knowledge about wine and red wines in particular presented to him the opportunity to write a book in 2005 about the technology of red wines.

Caves Sao Joao is known for the quality of its wines whilst using traditional wine making techniques but they always have an eye for the future and the modern wine drinker.