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Text and photos by Sara Riobom
Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo, mentioned in records as far back as 1725, is an ancient property in the heart of the Douro Valley. Behind the awards that recognize the excellence of its wines there is a basis of the utmost respect and policies of preservation of the Douro region. Therefore, it was no big surprise that it won the Sustainable Wine Practices Award, given by the Great Wine Capitals Network.
The concern for a sustainable energy consumption was one of the aspects I found most fascinating during my stay at the Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo.
The walls of the Quinta Nova Luxury Winery House – the charming hotel on site – are covered in shale, a local stone that absorbs heat during the day, and slowly releases it during the night. As a complement, the bedrooms are coated in Portuguese cork, renowned for its insulating properties.
The facilities thus pay tribute to two gracious 100% natural materials, whilst contributing to the reduction of its operation’s ecological footprint.
This respect for nature continues outdoors, in the vineyards and in the orchards. Cypresses mark the property’s boundaries and native species – such as the scented rosemary, rosemary and lavender – protect its buildings and interior roads.
The estate’s three beautiful orchards, dating back to the eighteenth century themselves, are lovingly tended. Their trees yield a biological harvest which is transformed into beautiful homemade jams and offered by the Quinta Nova Luxury Winery House to its guests.
Once there you will occasionally spot a hawk, or even a round-winged eagle; this is possible thanks to several niches of natural forest where absolutely no human intervention is permitted, to preserve the habitat of these beautiful birds.
You can enjoy these wonders in almost perfect silence, since the use of motor vehicles is prohibited inside the property to avoid the destruction of paths and the emission of air pollutants.
In addition to the work preserving their natural heritage, it’s remarkable how well Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo is integrated with the local community.
While I was waiting for my wine tour to begin, I witnessed numerous locals and passers-by being welcomed at Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo and given free access to the vineyards, to the pedestrian paths and even to the chapels in the property.
While talking to the attentive guide that gave me a tour of the Quinta’s wine production, I discovered that Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo has another charitable side. They support a well-known local NGO, Associação Bagos de Ouro, which supports socially vulnerable children in in the municipalities of Sabrosa, Alijó and São João da Pesqueira.
In short: Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo is a natural and highly recommended choice for those looking for an ecologically sustainable and socially responsible wine tourism option in the heart of the Douro Wine Region.