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15 July 2016

Quinta do Ameal is mainly known for its vineyards of the Loureiro variety, but for more than a year it has become more interesting, with a vinitourism project that takes advantage of wine and a unique territory.
Ameal Wine & Tourism is a secret (more or less) well kept, unlike the Loureiro wines that are made there and that are constantly on the tongues of national and international criticism. Pedro Araújo, who has been in charge of the Quinta do Ameal brand since 1998 and more recently in wine tourism, likes it to be so.

It has long been the producer and manager of companies wanted to welcome tourists on the 30-hectare property, but the recovery of two of the farmhouses was done in calm. With time and patience, Pedro went looking for pieces at vintage fairs - among them Vandoma in Porto - and in second-hand furniture stores. Others were commissioned, supplying the carpenters with the design of what was intended and using the wood of the pine trees that were falling on the Ameal. In the decoration, there are also family items, like the door that came from the house of the grandmother, daughter of Adriano Ramos Pinto. All walls are done in an immaculate white.

The result is what we call the rustic and industrial style, a chic but cozy two-in-one. In all, there are five rooms available: three generous suites in Casa Grande, whose oldest records date back to 1710, and two rooms in Casa Entre Bambus and Vinha. All have a living room and kitchenette and giant shower heads and one of the bedrooms has an outdoor shower, facing the bamboo. Fresh produce for breakfast is placed in a basket in the bedrooms; the rest is in the fridge. "There is no breakfast here from eight to ten, as in other hotels," Pedro Araújo prides himself.

The idea of connecting to nature is all over the hotel which Pedro brought with him five years ago when he studied and lived in Brazil. And the added value of this house is really "out there." The farm offers several memorable settings, all different and always with the water element present.

In addition to the vineyard, there is a woodland with several tree species (meandering pines, walnut, chestnut, oak and other), a river beach - the property accompanies the Lima river for 800 meters - an inviting south facing pool, a deck next to the tank with mine water that invites one to read or to make the most of pleasant company, a scented pergola covered with wisteria and the cane tree that gives name to one of the houses.

In the midst of all this, the Ameal Wine & Tourism team, which still has an added "three houses to redo", is small - they are four handymen - but tireless. Whatever the time of year, there is always work going on, on the farm, and guests are invited to watch. The Ameal experience also includes visits, wine tastings - with or without meals - and programs such as going down river by canoe or bike rides along the river - along the Eco path of 6 kilometers to the center of Ponte de Lima.


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