Quinta de Santa Cristina is a wine producing estate in Vinho Verde, and one of the most innovating and forward-looking wine estates in Portugal, providing a wide range of wine-related activities that can't be seen anywhere else in the country.
Wine Tourism in Portugal talked with Liliana Pereira, the person in charge of the wine tourism department at Quinta de Santa Cristina, which shared her view on the estate, what makes it so different and attractive from people all over the world and some great stories she had the chance to experience throughout the years.
The Wine Tourism Project at Quinta de Santa Cristina
Quinta de Santa Cristina is located in Celorico de Basto, just 45 minutes from Porto enjoying a magnificent location between the mountains of Fafe, Marão, Alvão and Cabreira and the right bank of the Tâmega River, providing the perfect conditions for a relaxing experience where one can enjoy the harmony between wines and nature.
The wine tourism project was born as a natural evolution of the company's growth. With the increase in the production it became necessary to build a new winery. The project was design bearing in mind not only a more efficient production but also thinking of the wine tourism opportunity, the possibility to visit the winery without interfering in the production processes and the existence of an area dedicated to events that will be available soon. On the other side, it became clear that in the Vinho Verde region there was a flaw in what concerns wine tourism: there are few wineries practicing it with quality and differentiating products. Liliana Pereira told us that this was the reason why they decided to embrace this challenge, which they are aware won't be easy, but that they believe that will contribute to increase the estate's notoriety, not only of the Quinta de Santa Cristina wines, but also the "green wines" and the Vinho verde region in general.
A Different Wine Experience in The Vinho Verde Region
When asked about what makes Quinta de Santa Cristina so special, Liliana Pereira highlights the unique location and the panoramic landscape to Marão, Alvão and Cabreira mountains. Also the existence in the 50 ha. property of three routes that allow for the discovery of points of interest such as the camellias garden, the Santa Cristina Chapel and different orchards. These routes are the stage for the organization of monthly walking tours with different themes. Liliana speaks also about the winery building, built in 2012, which combines modernity and sustainability with tradition, with a contemporary design, well inserted in the surrounding landscape, never forgetting the presence of some traditional elements such as the wine barrel or the stone presses.
Besides, Quinta de Santa Cristina has developed partnerships with several companies in the region in the hotel, restaurant, animation and extreme activities industries, to offer the best of the region to its visitors, making their experiences even more complete and unforgettable. Some good examples are the segway wine tour, the kayak wine tour or the 4WD wine tour, the result of a partnership with Parque Pena Aventura and NatouTracks, providing experiences integrated with wine tourism and extreme tourism.
Finally, Liliana also highlights as a main differentiating characteristic of Quinta de Santa Cristina the experience that includes the planting of a vine that besides being a new activity, is one the the experiences that contribute the most to create a bond and involve the visitors with the estate Finally but not less important, Quinta de Santa Cristina wants to differentiate itself by providing a reliable service, both in quality and professionalism, keeping the familiar and personalized relationship with the visitor.
The Perfect Wine Experience at Quinta de Santa Cristina
We asked Liliana how she would describe the ideal experience at Quinta de Santa Cristina.
For a family visit, Liliana recommends that the visitors enjoy the entire property, beginning their tour in the morning, with one of their walking tours among vineyards and forest. For lunch she recommends a regional picnic in the vineyards in a spot designed for that or on other spot that the visitor falls in love with. During the afternoon they could visit the winery and the day would end with a wine and cheese tasting.
To the most adventurous ones, the ideal experience would probably be starting the day going down the Tâmega river in a kayak or enjoy strong emotions at Parque Pena Aventura (Fantastic Cable or Alpine Coaster). The day would continue with a regional lunch paired with Quinta de Santa Cristina wines. During the afternoon they would be guided to Quinta de Santa Cristina in a four-wheeler, enjoying the magnificent off-road tracks in the region. The afternoon would be spent at the estate, among walks in the vineyards, visit to the winery and wine and regional products tasting.
The most popular experience includes the visit to the vineyards and the winery with the tasting of wines and regional products, because it is an experience that allows the visitors to discover the entire estate, as well as tasting regional products. For the Dutch visitors, the most popular tours are the ones related with extreme activities such as the kayak wine tour. The Dutch are among the main nationalities visiting the estate, as well as Portuguese, Belgians and French.
Liliana Pereira shares with us that one of the main questions and curiosities is about the "green wine" denomination, why it is called that. But also about the treading of the red wine grapes and the sparkling wines production process, which is also explained during the visit. Besides, visitors also ask a lot of questions about the existence of gas in the "green wines" and about the typical varieties of the region.
When asked to share an interesting story that happened at Quinta de Santa Cristina Liliana shared a story related with one their experiences. This Summer they had the visit of a couple who was spending their honeymoon in Porto. They decided to visit Quinta de Santa Cristina and engage in the planting of a vine, so that they could leave a mark of the beginning of their life together, which was really romantic!
The Quinta de Santa Cristina Vineyards and Grapes
There are different grape varieties from the Vinho Verde demarcated wine region planted at Quinta de Santa Cristina, including Batoca, a typical variety of the region almost only connected to the Basto sub-region, giving the visitor the opportunity to know the characteristics and the differences between each grape.
Quinta de Santa Cristina provides unique and unforgettable experiences. Nowadays it is possible to engage in guided tours to the vineyards and winery, wine and sparkling wine tasting, picnic in the vineyards, walking tours, activities in the vineyards and other extreme activities, that allow each visitor to contact directly with the surrounding landscape, nature and the local flavours and cuisine.
So that their visitors have the opportunity to know the best that is produced in the region, at the end of each tour they can visit the store where not only their wines but also other regional products are available. Soon, the store will also have handcraft available.
As you can see, Quinta de Santa Cristina is one of the most innovative and forward-looking wine estates in Portugal. Whether you are the relaxed wine enthusiast who enjoys a quiet glass of wine or the adventurous one, book your wine tour at Quinta de Santa Cristina and have the time of your life.