The Lencastre family is of royal Portuguese lineage – descended from Antonio Pinot Garces Mandureira, who was named the First Barão da Varzea do Douro by Portugal’s Queen Maria II on July 16, 1846. The family’s royal residence is Vila Nova, near the town of Penafiel, close to the eastern border in Portugal’s Vinho Verde wine region ‐‐ about a 30 minute drive east from Oporto. The land has been in the family since the 12th Century, and the only remnant of that time is an ivy‐covered stone tower, now totally surrounded by Vila Nova (new house), that was built in the 1700’s.
In the late 1970s, the family planted grape vines over 29 acres; mostly the native Portuguese varietals that are most often used in Vinho Verde wines. In 2003, Bernardo Lencastre, who will be the Fifth Baron in the family, took over the property with his siblings, revitalized the vineyards and started making Vinho Verde. He also spearheaded efforts to make Vila Nova the showplace it is today.