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Text and Photos by João de Carvalho
I needed a few days in a place where I could rest my ideas and recharge my batteries to their fullest, one of those times when I feel like being away from everything or as one of my family members would say, "who can discover us here." While searching for a place like that I came across with the wine tourism of Casa do Rio - Quinta do Vallado, which won the category of "Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices" in the Best of Wine Tourism Awards 2016 and more recently the Architecture and Landscape award at the Best of Wine Tourism Awards 2018. An offer so tempting, even more so, because it is connected to the world of wine, was the much-needed click.
On the way I learned that Casa do Rio, despite being the only building there, is an extension of the Hotel and Winery project of Quinta do Vallado (Peso da Régua). Located in Castelo Melhor at Quinta do Orgal, it is perfectly integrated into the landscape, its built on top of slate and most of it is built is predominantly of wood. Surrounded by vineyards, lots of vineyards, serving as a balcony for a stunning view of the river Douro that flows right there in front of it.
And it was in this idyllic environment that I let myself go, settled in a truly cosy retreat where we are surrounded by good taste and enormous comfort. At dusk the pool incites to go in, even though the Spa is tempting, but it was time for the laughter of good mood and conviviality to echo through the valley, one of the few times in which silence can be broken around those parts. We could not miss the wine tasting, where we got to know a little better all the work that is done in Quinta do Vallado, followed by an excellent dinner for two.
Waking up in one of the six available rooms and watching the sunrise with a cool breeze that emanates from the orange orchard that is right under the balcony. Leaving early and taking a walk through the vineyards, the intimate silence that almost dazzles us in that fantastic setting, provides good moments of reflection. As we walk for a while, we take some photos to remember the moment, we go back, and waiting for us, on the balcony, was an invigorating breakfast. For those who cannot disconnect from the world there is wi-fi available, or else that book that was lying around your house and insisted in not being finished, right at hand. Isolated from the world, almost lost in the midst of nature, we smile and savour the moment.
The activities available are varied and some of them very tempting, from boat trips to bike tours, sport fishing, trekking, stand-up paddle, show cooking or relaxing in the Spa. The only snag is the time it takes to get there, but the reward is fantastic.
VisitPorto, Quinta do Vallado, Casa do Rio, Best Of Wine Tourism, Great Wine Capitals Global Network