The Douro Valley
The traveler who arrives at the small train station in Ermida immediately sights the monumental Douro valley landscape, the simplicity of its terraced vineyards, cherry, almond and chestnut trees sloping down towards the river. This was the landscape that was contemplated by the character Jacinto featured in Eça de Queirós’ “The City and the Mountains” while travelling from Paris to Douro. Today it is this largely unchanged landscape that is offered to those who choose Quinta de Guimarães to create unique memories.
Placed on a gentle elevation overlooking the Douro, between the curves and counter-curves of this breathtaking river, is the Quinta de Guimarães. It is in this agricultural property of 40 hectares that vineyards of the Avesso grape variety grow on the 25 hectares dedicated to the production of wine.
The other part of the property is dedicated to the romantic forests of oaks and cork oaks that protect the heart of the estate from the strong winds coming from the East.
Here, at the center of the property, it is located the 18th century Manor House; the adjacent chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Immaculate Conception; the winery which is still being used and the threshing floor.
From this agricultural production carefully thought out to respect what the land chooses to grow and to privilege the local ingredients, the sustainable garden also stands out, which delights kids and adults alike, offering an experience of connection with the land and with the best experience the Douro has to offer.
The first member of the Cunha Coutinho family to settle in Santa Marinha do Zêzere did so in the early 18th century. Nobleman and Benedictine abbot, he ordered a manor house to be built in this location, the Casa do Reguengo das Cazas Novas, which he offered to one of his younger brothers who would have little to inherit. Since then, the family has never moved away from the history of this place.
In one of the last months of the Portuguese monarchy, the lord of Cazas Novas marries a neighbouring woman from the Vieira Pinto family who lived in the area, honoring the provincial tradition by not looking for a bride too far. The Vieira Pinto family had had previously bought the Quinta de Guimarães in the 18th century as a result of their work in Brazil.
As a consequence of this marriage, the current owners Cunha Coutinho keep alive several property inheritances: the taste of hospitality, the vineyard and the wine.
Today, the Quinta de Guimarães still remains a place where family memories are built. With the blessing of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, to whom the estate’s chapel is dedicated, the three children of the current owners have married, reinforcing the family’s connection to the site and the Douro.
A true family home, with its doors always open, the Quinta de Guimarães is a precious refuge for everyone and the family considers it to be one of the most charming places in the world.
The person who opens the door receives the guests with a big smile and the heart-warming accent of Santa Marinha do Zêzere. Her name is Fernanda. Fernanda and her two sisters, Lúcia and Rosa, are the true souls of the Quinta de Guimarães as well as the link with the local community. The three sisters make the guests feel at home immediately by inviting them to unravel every corner of this little piece of heaven on earth.