The historic Quinta do Ataíde with its 18th Century Manor House, occupies more than 100 hectares of unusually flat land in in the Vilariça Valley amongst ancient olive groves and vineyards and dates back to the very earliest days of agriculture in this region.
Near Quinta do Ataíde, the fault reaches its widest point in what is known as the Vilariça basin, flanked by two granite escarpments which help to define its micro-climate. The land is softly undulating in contrast to the steep sides of the main Douro valley. The parting of the Iberian tectonic plates in ancient times, with the subsequent formation of a lake, created conditions where the traditional granite and schist of the Douro valley are supplemented by an alluvial topsoil component, creating unique conditions for viticulture and a specific terroir not found elsewhere in the Douro region.
Besides the traditional schist, can be found three distinct types of topsoil; sandy loam, silt loam and in some places clay loam with its good propensity to retain water. The soil pH is near neutral, in contrast to much of the Douro located to the west of the Valeira dam where soils tend to be slightly acidic. All these factors give rise to the unique and specific flavours of the Ataíde wines.