Real Companhia Velha was founded by Royal Charter of King D. José I on the 10th September 1756. It has been a two-centuries old and prominent presence in the history of Portugal and particularly of the Northen region. It was, over 260 years ago, that it created, shaped, protected and elevated the Douro Demarcated Region, making it the first regulated wine region in the World.
When it was founded this Chartered Company had many privileges and public powers and it had its own jurisdiction. Its origin lies in the economic and political context of the country in the mid-18th century. In particular the economic crisis linked to the export of Douro wine, and the trade and economic reorganisation carried out by the Prime Minister – Marquis of Pombal. The Companhia Geral da Agricultura das Vinhas do Alto Douro was incorporated by a large number of shareholders who were the “Good Men” from Porto and the main farmers in the Upper Douro region. Its main regulating mission, was based on the trade and the quality of the wine produced in Upper Douro region.
Through our Museum one can learn about the history of the oldest company in Portugal, which has uninterrupted activity for 262 years. Its history was marked by periods of great expansion and by the execution of major public works. Throughout that time it overcame all vicissitudes and obstacles it faced. Real Companhia Velha is a company focused on the future yet proud of its past and it was with the intention of preserving and sharing its history that the Museum of the Oldest Appellation in the World was created.