Croft has to be one of the most distinguished names in the Port industry. Founded over 300 years ago by a Yorkshireman, John Croft, who was one of the intrepid band of merchants to export wines to a British market unable to buy from Napoleonic France due to war. The firm’s activity dates back to 1588 which was also the first year of the first ever recorded shipments of Port wine.
John Croft published his treatise on the Wines of Portugal in 1788 which subsequently placed the Croft family at the forefront of the British community based in Oporto. This treatise gives a valuable insight into the early days of the Port Wine Trade.
In 2001 Croft was sold to the Taylor-Fladgate Fonseca group with Adrian Bridge as current managing director. There are no longer any members of the Croft family in the firm and like other famous names; Croft has in recent years become swallowed up by multinationals, though the brand remains strong as they retain their own distinctive style and identity. The Croft family maintained its affection for the fortified wines of the Douro and the late Percy Croft famously stated “Any time not spent drinking Port is a waste of time.”
Quinta da Roêda was planted early in the eighteenth century during a great surge in demand for Port after the 1703 Methuen Treaty in which England agreed to tax a third less on Portuguese wine than on French wine. Subsequently Quinta da Roêda has been recognised as one of the great Port vineyards and nineteenth century poet Vega Cabral is to have said: “If the wine district were a golden ring, Roêda would be the diamond.”
The vineyard draws its character from new Port making technologies as well as maintaining it’s commitment to traditional foot treading for its vintage Port wines, producing full and fruity Port. The house of Croft enjoys a major reputation for its Vintage Ports in particular and their single estate wine, 1997 Quinta da Roêda, is well worth looking out for.