Vasco Croft is a pioneer of biodynamic winemaking (holistic farming) in Portugal.
Throughout his childhood, Vasco would spend his summer holidays in Minho at his family estate, Quinta da Paço. Owned and run by his family since the 17th century, he would occasionally help with the harvests, but rarely took interest in the winemaking process.
In his twenties, Vasco went on to study philosophy, then became an architect and furniture designer in Lisbon. After his children were born, he took a deep dive into Waldorf education and Anthroposophy, the work of Rudolf Steiner, who also founded biodynamic agriculture. Vasco would eventually become a Waldorf teacher-trainer, as well as pioneer in holistic education in Portugal.
In his thirties, Vasco would have a life-changing encounter over a bottle of wine with a Brazilian Buddhist monk, Dr. Gustavo Pinto. Gustavo believed that the moment you open a wine, it breathes oxygen, decays and eventually dies. It is a living, breathing organism that should be both respected and appreciated. This moment, which Vasco describes as a personal meeting with Dionysus, allowed Vasco to embrace wine as an integral part of life.
From this day forward, Vasco’s passion for wine became palpable. In 2003, he founded Aphros. And from 2005 onward, he converted to biodynamic farming and restored the Quinta, thus giving it new life. For Vasco, biodynamic farming is a complex skill that needs to be understood at a deeper level in order to practice it properly.
He believes that “making good wine is not enough.” As he sees it, “the question of going organic or biodynamic is really an issue of consciousness primarily, concerning understanding and caring for Nature and developing a deeper relationship with the Earth of which we are a part.”