The company, one of the largest Portuguese wine producers, was founded by José Maria da Fonseca (1804-1884). His father had become rich through tobacco trade and bought his son at Azeitãjo south of Lisbon in today's DOC area Setúbal a winery. This began in 1834 with the construction of a large winery. He introduced new techniques, for example, he further divided the vines and led the variety Castelão Francês on. He planted these on a vineyard called Periquita. The wine was very successful, so that the vine was soon named throughout Portugal for the vineyard and was widely used.
For Moscatel de Setúbal, who was then produced, he created a new blend of new, acidified varieties. This sweet dessert wine is produced today for the most part by Fonseca. Another pioneering act was that he set aside the port wine as one of the first in Portugal bottled his wines. José Maria da Fonseca ran the winery for 50 years and was honored in 1857 by King Pedro V (1837-1861) with the highest honor in Portugal. In 1944, he became enormously successful rosé wine Lancers by fifth-generation offspring António Porto Soares Franco created (as early as 1937, its predecessor Faisca, considered the first Portuguese rosé). The first white wine appeared on the market in 1945.
Today there are two Fonseca companies (both based in Azeitãjo), but they are completely separate. These are José Maria da Fonseca Successores and JM da Fonseca International (Port wine house Fonseca Guimaraens in the postage -Vorstadt Vila Nova de Gaia but there is no connection). The second is mainly focused on the production of the Lancers, which is largely exported to the United States. In addition, a variety of wines from local and international varieties are produced. The former is run by descendants of the Fonseca family for the seventh generation and is currently managed by the brothers Antonio (since 1986 president) and Domingos Soares Franco (since 1980 head of production). António is a graduate of University of California in Davis.
The huge estate now covers over 1,000 hectares of vineyards. Furthermore, there is ownership of vineyards, wineries and wineries, including in the regions or DOC zones Alentejo (Goods D'Avillez and José de Sousa), dão and Palmela, The wide product range includes red and white wines from mainly indigenous varieties ( Alvarinho. Arinto. Bastardo. Espadeiro. Loureiro. Monvedro, Periquita Castelão Francês ), sometimes with something Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay be produced blended or sorted. These are z. Eg the brand wines Garrafeira CO (Periquita with some Tinta Amarela), JP Vinhos (before buying João Pires), Quinta da Bacalhôa, Quinta de Camarate (Cabernet Sauvignon and Periquita), Primum (50% each Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca), Tinto Velho (from autochtonous varieties from the winery José de Sousa) and Terras Altas.
A special feature of the house are old Setúbal wines from the period 1870 to 1890, which were still produced according to the traditional form. This means that they spent months traveling on long voyages on the road, experiencing extreme heat and temperature fluctuations. These specialties are called "Vinhos de torna-viagem" or "Vinho da roda". In 2000, Fonseca launched an interesting project when Setúbal wines were subjected to a three-month voyage. So they were created using the old traditional method of two-way crossing. See in detail under Torna Viagem,