Companhia Agrícola do Sanguinhal (CAS) was established by Abel Pereira da Fonseca in 1926 to administrate the estates that he owned in the region of Bombarral since the beginning of the century,still belonging to the same family.
He planted his first stand-alone vineyards (i.e. vines with no other fruit tree in between) aligned and wired, which was considered very innovating at the time, as there were no tractors. Vineyards were divided into plots, each planted with one sole variety (which was also new at the time). He introduced new varieties. In a separate plot at Quinta do Sanguinhal, he planted 30 different varieties to study their adaptability.
At the time he also held a partnership in Sociedade Comercial Abel Pereira da Fonseca, which owned and exploited the largest food and wine retail network in the country. They were called "Lojas Val do Rio", and totalled one hundred stores in Lisbon alone. http://restosdecoleccao.blogspot.pt/2011/10/abel-pereira-da-fonseca-era-no-inicio.html
Companhia Agrícola do Sanguinhal owns 3 estates located in the Demarcated Region of Óbidos (A.O.C.) Quinta do Sanguinhal, Quinta das Cerejeiras and Quinta de S. Francisco. The names of these estates ("Quintas") stand for the most prestigious AOC wines produced by the company, in the hands of the same family for 4 generations. The company's goal is to modernize, innovate and to meet the standards of the most demanding consumer.
The company has undergone modernization over the past few years: vines were re-established based on traditional varieties as well as new varieties to meet market demand; wine-making and bottling facilities have experienced major investments at technological and equipment levels. The traditional ageing in French and American oak is nonetheless still used.
In recent years, the Company invested in the tourism and service areas in order to take advantage of the high potential of its beautiful old buildings. Traditional cellars and an old distillery were refurbished for the holding of private or institutional events and for tourism purposes.
C.A.S. is presently a dynamic company.
CAS began producing quality wine from the very start. The wines from Quinta das Cerejeiras, Quinta do Sanguinhal and Quinta de São Francisco were produced separately in their respective cellars, which had an overall capacity in oak and mahogany barrels and vats of around 2 million litres, used in the fermentation, storage and ageing of wines, fortified wines and brandies.
When working, Fernando Pessoa used to get up, pick up his hat, adjust his glasses and go out, saying - I’m going to "Abel’s"- .
This simple action of Pessoa became a habit, and puzzled the poet’s co-worker, Luiz de Almeida, who only later realized that these visits to "Abel’s" were to the nearest depot of the “Abel Pereira da Fonseca” shops for a glass of wine.
In homage to the poet Fernando Pessoa ( the greatest portuguese poet of the 20th century) and to the founder of this company, Abel Pereira da Fonseca, was created CASABEL wine brand. At the labels was reproduced the dedication written by Fernando Pessoa in his photo to the poet Carlos Queiroz:
"Carlos: This is me at Abel's, one step from Earthly Paradise, albeit lost."
Today, we can still see at the Bolhão Market in Oporto, two tiles' panels announcing the wines of the “Sociedade Comercial Abel Pereira da Fonseca”.