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6 Wine Resorts you have to experience

The Alentejo has become Portugal’s wine country, building on centuries of tradition mixed with the latest technologies to produce truly world-class wines. Recently, Wine Enthusiast said this of the region: "Vines cover a relatively small area, but economically they are becoming the most important crop as the reputation of the wines they yield has grown in the last 20 years after a decade-long interruption.”

The New York Times recently named the Alentejo as one of the 52 Places for a Changed World, a list that highlights places around the globe where travelers can be part of a solution. The article pointed to the sustainable wine movement in the region, where sheep help clear land, and water is used sparingly. 

The Wines of Alentejo Sustainability Program was established in 2014 - the first of its kind in Portugal. It has grown to include 425 wineries, and almost 50% of Alentejo vineyard land. The New York Times wrote: By prioritizing water conservation, with measures like developing cover crops for water retention and creating ponds to collect rainwater, the program has helped wineries reduce their average water consumption by 20 percent; some that were using 14 liters of water to produce 1 liter of wine have decreased their needs to 6 liters of water.
Part of that is to include wine hotels, spas and restaurants that compliment the wine making process.

The region’s vineyards date back to ancient times, and today the Alentejo is home to more than 250 producers. The land is quite productive due to the dry hot summers with plenty of sun. The Alentejo offers 8 sub-regions of wine, including some of the most charming places to visit, such as Évora, Moura, Borba, Estremoz, Vidigueira, Portalegre, and Redondo. And then there are the grapes varieties, that include Abundante, Alfrocheiro Preto, Alicante Bouschet, Antão Vaz, Arinto, Diagalves, Fernão Pires, Manteúdo, Moreto, Palomino, Periquita, Rabo de Ovelha, and Trincadeira.

One of the big changes, along with investment in new technology and sustainable agriculture, is the rise of wine hotels — where guests can see how the wine is made, and learn about its traditions and quality.

Torre de Palma Wine Hotel -  Monforte

Dating to 1338, the historic Torre de Palma Wine Hotel celebrates wine, olive oil, horses, and a rural life. A luxurious rural Alentejo retreat, Torre de Palma Wine Hotel - Design Hotels offers swimming pools, a spa and wellness centre, and a restaurant and bar. The rooms and suites all come with elegant decor. Guests can enjoy a la carte and buffet meals at the restaurant, all with the house wines.

Herdade da Malhadinha Nova - North of Castro Verde

Malhadinha is a rural manor set among breathtaking wine country. There is a panoramic pool, spa with hot tub and hammam. The fine rooms offer traditional white-washed walls and tiled floors. They combine designer furnishings with rustic finishings. Guests can enjoy traditional food and wine from the region at the restaurant as well as views of the countryside. The in-house bar serves self-produced wine in the evenings. Other popular activities include horse riding, hiking and canoeing.

Herdade do Sobroso Wine & Luxury Boutique Hotel - Vidigueira

Situated near the wine town of Vidigueira this is a winery with an area of over 1,600 hectares that combines wine production with a wine hotel. It offers two country houses: "Casa da Quinta,” with five rooms and common areas, and "Casa da Cegonha,” with five small apartments with kitchenettes. The restaurant offers traditional dishes of Alentejo cuisine accompanied by wine produced at the Herdade. Explore the winery, wine fields and the nearby beaches.

Herdade da Rocha - Boutique Lodge - Crato

With vineyard views, Herdade da Rocha - Boutique Lodge is set near Crato and has a full restaurant, room service, bar, garden, outdoor pool and terrace. Hike the wine lands, explore the innovative winery, and enjoy the zen garden, and you can even go cycling nearby.

São Lourenço do Barrocal is set in the foothills below the medieval village of Monsaraz and nearby the Alqueva lake. It has been owned by the same family for more than 200 years. The hotel offers a restaurant, a lounge bar, a pool bar, a spa with fitness center, a wine cellar and a shop. The service, comfort and rural luxury are in perfect balance with the Alentejo landscape, made up of vineyards, cork oaks and century-old olive trees.

Herdade dos Grous - Beja

With 730 hectares, Herdade dos Grous is a calm escape, to relax and enjoy nature. In this winery and estate, with unique characteristics in the heart of Alentejo, just 10 miles away from Beja, in a successive sequence of olive groves, cork oak forests and vineyards, which offer the production of one of the most awarded Portuguese wines. You are welcome to see the wine-making process, take part in wine tastings or just stroll along the vast wine fields. Horseback riding, tennis, sauna and massage are offered, too.

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