At the end of the 19th century, António Félix Pereira de Mendonça, born in 1864, moved from Abrigada (Alenquer) to Borba. His reasons for moving were unclear: if some people advocated that the change happened because of the phylloxera crisis that affected the vineyards in Alenquer, others claimed that he came to Borba to start a new job.
Regardless of the reason, he had an important role in the wine production in Borba.
Once installed, António Félix Mendonça and his wife, Maria Joana Conceição Bravo, had 11 children. They founded their Casa Comercial e Agrícola in 1893, and started different activities such as selling charcoal, shoes, and bread. After that, they dedicated themselves to wine production (their main activity).
Later, their sons Idevor Mendonça (born in 1903) and José Maria Mendonça (born in 1906) kept this commercial and agricultural activity. On November 4th (1950), both signed in Borba’s notary the legal registration of “António Mendonça Herdeiros Lda”, splitting the capital of this firm into equal parts.
According to the deed: “The share of each partner is represented by the values that constitute the assets, net of liabilities, and the establishment that both own and have managed under the António Mendonça Herdeiros Lda”. The document also suggested that the commercial activity was maintained since the constitution of the Casa Comercial e Agrícola created by their parents. It is also known that this company had an important role not only in the region’s wine wholesale trade but also in its production.
José Maria Mendonça studied agriculture in Évora and soon dedicated himself to viticulture and wine.
Idevor Mendonça was more focused on management, accounting, and commerce. With their own vineyard area in Lameirões (Matriz, Borba) and grapes that they used to buy, they founded the winery on the ground floor of their house at Rua Marquês de Marialva 10 – 12 and 11 – 13. This winery was more evolved compared with the ones that existed since they used underground deposits, crushing, and distillation processes instead of wine jars.
José Maria Mendonça was an astute winemaker, as a result of his studies, and curiosity that took him on different visits to Bordeaux.
They soon introduced the Cabernet Sauvignon variety, launched the first sparkling wine, and created Montes Claros (still and sparkling wines) and Vorva (brandy) wine brands.
At that time, the Adega Cooperativa wasn’t established and most of the region’s wines were sold in bulk to intermediary merchants. They took advantage of the quality’s wine to keep a big part of the profit. So, “António Mendonça Herdeiros Lda” started to fight against this situation by launching new brands and searching for quality and notoriety.
The brothers chose “Montes Claros” as the name of their wine to achieve more visibility and recognition. They were smart since it was the place where the popular battle took place, also known by the existence of many vineyards.
Adega de Borba acquired the Montes Claros brand at the end of the 1980s, being renewed in the 1986 harvest.