Douro Valley’s Quinta Nova Winery House Review - Bucolic Luxury

A view from one of the Quinta Nova terraces

 

It doesn’t surprise to learn that when Américo Ferreira Amorim,  owner of the largest cork business in Portugal, Amorim l sought a property that would be suitable to wine and dine both their vintner customers and the growing roster of companies making high-tech uses of cork composite products, that  the Quinta Nova estate, a one-time property of the Portuguese royal family, was their choice. 

 

The Douro River running through the Valley provided the historic route to Porto and eventual export of the wines

 

Stunning…

 

Enchanting….

 

 

...in all directions.

 

Look up one hill and you see three orchards – oranges, chestnuts, figs—that date back to Roman times.  You’ll see other fruit orchards and olives too.

 

Douro Valley was the world's first officially designated wine region, and you can see some of the historic markers on the Quinta Nova lands

 

In all directions you see vineyards with rows so narrow no machines can work them—only hands and horses.

 

Look carefully and you’ll spy landmark posts that date back to 1758, shortly after Douro Valley became the world’s first designated wine region that was established with controls like these posts marking where the approved land for port wines began and ended. 

 

A seating area with remarkable views just outside the rooms that were one-time manor stables

 

The accommodations at the Winery House are disarmingly simple, not even attempting to compete with the views outside. 

 

The Winery House has much of the original furnishings

 

In some rooms there are the king-sized beds that American guests are reported to favor

 

All of the hotel rooms have a view of a vineyard

 

Several of the rooms have these bilros style headboards -- very charming

 

This helps to give your stay a night-in-a-country house feel. 

 

The rooms at the Winery House do not have WiFi. You can sit in this welcoming living room area to get connected

 

Outdoor dining patio at Conceitus Restaurant

 

Don’t imagine for a second though that you are in any way roughing it, unless your definition of that somehow stretches to include life-memorable 5-star dining from its Conceitus Restaurant

 

A sumptuous breakfast buffet is available for hotel guests

 

(Read our full review of Conceitus here.)

 

One way to the Winery House; one way to the cellars

 

Over 10,000 visitors a year come to Quinta Nova just to tour its vineyards and cellars and see many of the winemaking artifacts soon to be collected into an on-site museum.  

 

The schist rock that is so key to port wine terroireis used to create paths and charming nooks to linger in on the estate

 

Of particular interest at the Quinta Nova Winery House is the small historic chapel on the property, which though maintained by Quinta Nova, is open to the public. 

 

This Carmelite chapel is on the hotel grounds and is maintained by Quinto Nova. It is open to all. Historically, it was the chapel that boatmen families came to pray at for safe passages down the Douro River

 

The hotel dining room was at one point the priest's quarters

 

The colorful chapel is in perfect condition and is an extremely charming venue used for locals' weddings

 

Named for the saint that protects boatmen, this Carmelite church was a place where those about to make 3-day journeys down the Douro River would first come to pray for safe passage.  The Quinta Nova Winery House dining room of today across from this chapel was once the chambers of the church’s priest.

 

Picture postcard views in all directions

 

The Quinta Nova Estate overs 120 hectares and is almost entirely covered with vineyards

 

Map of the Quinta Nova hiking trails. Hotel guests can also arrange a picnic basket from the kitchens. Graphic courtesy of Quinta Nova

 

If time allowed we would have definitely done a 4+ hour exploration of Quinta Nova’s hiking trails, with the picnic basket they provide. …

 

Cyclists,many from America, find many good bike trails for on and off road cycling

 

The long pointy trees are a variant of Junipers (Taylor Junipers) that we rarely see in the States

 

A visit in mid-May shortly after heavy rains is a time when the surrounds are very lush and green

 

Olive trees dot areas of the landscape

 

..or taken a helicopter tour….

 

You can both arrive by helicopter and/or take a helicopter tour of the area arranged by Quinta Nova. Photo courtesy of Quinta Nova

 

…or a quick boat adventure on the river and water sports fun…

 

If you arrive by boat the hotel will come and pick you up at the pier. Photo courtesy of Quinta Nova

 

The hotel also can arrange boats for water sports and swim adventures in the river. Photo courtesy of Quinta Nova

 

…or off-road biking.

 

When we return we now know we can come on the railroad across the river that dates back to 1880, or by boat, or helicopter too—the hotel picks up guests at all these ports of arrival.

 

The big challenge is figuring out when.  

 

This bottle brush plant, as its nicknamed, was in full blossom during our visit

 

The spring bloom times of April/May when we visited are said to be one of the peak times.  The reds of October’s end and November’s start, harvest times, are said to perhaps be even better.  Then again, for a writer or others in a contemplative endeavor one can’t imagine a cozier retreat than Quinta Nova Winery House warmed by its many fireplaces in winter.

 

We not only got an interesting tour of the estate but also many keen observations about Portuguese culture from our host, Paula Sousa, Marketing and Tourism Sales Manager, Quinta Nova N. S. do Carmo | Quinta Nova Luxury Winery House | Conceitus Winery Restaurant GRUPO AMORIM

 

Thankfully, we find that Quinta Nova wines are easily found in Chicago, such that we can stoke reveries of a return with satisfying slow sips.

 

For more information on how to visit the Quinta Nova Winery House and Vineyards see their website  and these pages for information on US distributors of Quinta Nova wine. 

 

 Photos:  Peter Kachergis, unless otherwise indicated

 

 

 

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