A brief family history
from 1662 to 2016
Quinta dos Olmais is both the company and the farm name where Olmais Olive Oil is produced, both are owned by the Gomes Alves family. One of the most common questions we face is: “Who are these newcomers and how can they produce such an award winning product?” Well, let’s answer it..
The Gomes Alves family origin can be traced, to the day, to its very beginning, it happened on the 14th of April of 1662 when D. Tereza Alvarez marries Domingos Gomes. At the marriage and because the Portuguese independence had been restored just 20 years before from a short-lived Spanish rule and because the bride’s name “Alvarez” was a Spanish sounding name, the newly wedded adopted the more Portuguese sounding alternative Alves as their last name.
And just like that the Gomes Alves family was created. Gomes Alves is a 354 years old family whose past is tied since its beginning to both farming and Portuguese history.
Shortly after the Portuguese Civil War (1828-1834), for their role supporting King D. Pedro, the family was awarded some land in northern Portugal and mandated to convert it to arable farmland, some of these lands are still to this day owned by the Gomes Alves family and relatives.
The 1910's coup that ended monarchy brought civil unrest to the country and the family endured persecutions by the new government, today we still can find marks of those times, the most notable, a secret passage on the family’s main house at the time used to escape from the partisan raids. Eventually things changed and by the 1930s the family got back to good terms with the regime.
With 1914 came the Great War and famine hit hard the neighboring poor peasants and fishermen that could only keep hungry away due to the charity of the Gomes Alves family, a dish of soup with bread and olive oil was always at hand at the family main house for the poorest of the poor. Unfortunately even charity couldn’t keep the horrors of war from the family which lost one of the very first Portuguese airmen to the war.
The country’s last regime change was the 1974 Carnation Revolution, a military coup lead by Junior Officers that brought democracy back to Portugal. And again the family took a front role in the events when a young army Lieutenant was actively involved in the revolution by taking over the Oporto Airport, that army officer is now the current head of the family and owner of Quinta dos Olmais - José Gomes Alves.
Today the family holds vineyards in the original 1800's lands, and forests and olive groves in its most recent sites.
“Olmais” is the name of the place where our olive grove is located in a very old and magic part of our country, Vila Flor - a land of kings and farmers. Although these lands were the last to come into possession of the Gomes Alves family it is here where the family farming history is now happening.
So when asked how do we do it, the answer it's easy: - Centennial olive trees resting on the peaceful hillsides of Vila Flor combined with over 300 years of farming experience were just enough to created one of the world’s best olive oils.