Fonseca was founded in 1822 when Manuel Pedro Guimaraens acquired control of the Fonseca & Monteiro Company. As a condition of the sale, Fonseca insisted that his name be retained.
Shortly after, Manuel Pedro Guimaraens was forced to flee Portugal due to the civil war in an empty port wine cask. During this period, Fonseca grew rapidly in reputation and importance and by 1840 the firm had become the second largest shipper of Port Wine.
Today Fonseca Guimaraens is still a family wine shipper with David Guimaraens being the 6th generation involved in the industry.
In the last 40 years, Fonseca (the middle syllable rhymes with "tech") has been the most "on form" in Vintage Port years, with resounding successes in 1963, 1970, 1977, 1985, 1992, 1994 and 1997, which has created demand and, as a result, it can command the highest prices. Fonseca is, in fact, a partner to its rival, Taylor's though the two brands have kept their separate identities. Long-lived, the vintage wines are renowned for their quality and intensity of fruit, sheer opulence, structure and balance to last for decades. Fonseca is without doubt a top name and one that everyone should aspire to try.
Much of the fruit used for Fonseca’s Vintage Port comes from Quinta do Panascal, purchased in 1978 which then undertook a substantial programme of renovation and development leading to the addition of Quinta do Val dos Muros in 1985. The property now comprises just over 76 hectares of which 44 hectares is under vine producing 858 hectolitres of Port. All of the grapes are foot trodden in granite lagares situated on the property. Wines from the Tavora Valley are credited with their solid backbone and concentration seen in the Panascal Single Quinta Vintage Port that Fonseca produces when a general vintage declaration is not made.