|Pedro van Zeller
My ancestors officialy established Van Zellers & Co. as a Port Company in 1780.
It traded non-stop until the 1930's. My family, in the middle of the XIXth
century, sold it to other wine merchants. By 1932 / 1933 Van Zellers & Co. was
for sale again. It was then bought by my great-grandfather, Luís de Vasconcellos
Porto, owner of Quinta do Noval, for his grandsons (his only daughter and my
grandmother Rita was married to my grandfather, Cristiano van Zeller). With the
Company, various brands came to Noval, such as Van Zellers, VZ and others. The
company and brands merged with Quinta do Noval and were used in some countries
with Noval stock.
It was only in the middle of the 1980's, when I was at the head of Noval, that we decided it was very important to revive the company as an independent entity, with its own quinta and Port stocks. This was done in 1987/88 in partnership with my great-uncles and cousins owners of Quinta de Roriz, quinta that became, then, Van Zellers & Co. only property.
|Van Zellers & Co vineyard in the river Torto valley|
With the sale of Quinta do Noval to AXA, in 1993, Van Zellers & Co. was kept
under the new owners umbrella until my cousins João and Pedro, owners of Quinta
de Roriz, took it back to the family. The new owners of Noval, AXA, stopped
producing and selling under the brands of Van Zellers & Co. The same thing
happened with my cousins, owners of Quinta de Roriz whom, very understandably,
decided to concentrate on one single brand, their quinta's name, Quinta de Roriz.
The company and its brands were, since then, in the hands of my cousin João van Zeller, until 2009 sole owner of Quinta de Roriz. At that stage, Van Zellers & Co. had no stocks and no commercial activity.
|At Quinta do Esteveirão|
At Christmas 2006 I received a phone call from my cousin João saying he was
offering me the company and all its brands (dating from the XIXth century), as a
Christmas present. This courteous gesture left me with the great responsibility
to continue the old family name and company in the wine business.
Thus, I am now the sole owner of the historical company and brand names of my family.
Although there were no stocks attached, this opened an immense possibility for the future.
One of the first doors opened by the revival of Van Zellers & Co. was the possibility to give, straight away, a brand name for my new high end Douro White from 2006. This wine now uses the VZ brand. It has a story (or better, a history) behind it and it completes the other high quality wines I have been producing from our own vineyards at Quinta Vale D. Maria: Quinta Vale D. Maria Douro Reds and Ports, CV - Curriculum Vitae Douro Red and Casa de Casal de Loivos Douro Red.
|Old Port wine cellar|
In 2007 a new Douro Red was also launched, issued from grapes grown in
different parts of the Douro, mainly neighbouring vineyards of Vale D. Maria,
with an age between 7 and 25 years. This wine was called "Van Zellers Douro
Red". The first wine to be launched was the 2004 vintage.
In 2008 two new wines were launched: Van Zellers 2007 Douro Rosé and Van Zellers 2007 Douro White, completing the range of the Douro wines produced by the company. In 2012 a new high end Douro Red was also launched: Van Zellers 2010 Douro Red. The full range is complete.
The next step was to return Van Zellers & Co. to Port, concentrating at the top end, mainly with the production, ageing and selling of Colheita Ports and 10 and 20 Year Old Tawny Ports. This happened during the year of 2010.
|Van Zellers & Co.
Portuguese law that regulates the Port business demands that new producers
must have a minimum stock of 150.000 litres before they are allowed to buy
grapes to produce Port or bulk stocks on the market. In the case of producers
that own their own vineyards, until that minimum stock is reached they are only allowed to produce and sell Ports
from their own vineyards.
A natural cooperation was then created between Van Zellers & Co. and my cousins Fernando and Álvaro van Zeller through their Port company "Barão de Vilar". Van Zellers & Co. and Barão de Vilar, and thus the three cousins, are now back together in Van Zellers & Co., developing the various styles of Ports produced by Van Zellers & Co., from Ruby to Colheita Ports, through 10 and 20 year Old tawny Ports.
The new Van Zellers Vintage Ports, namely the most recent 2009 Vintage Port, come from Van Zellers & Co. own vineyards.
Vila Nova de Gaia, August 2012
Cristiano van Zeller