Connected to José de Mello's family for several generations, Monte da Ravasqueira is located in Arraiolos, one hour away from Lisbon, and covers a vast area of the typical Alentejo landscape.
We talked with Mario Gonzaga, the wine tourism manager at Monte da Ravasqueira, who shared with us some of his experience at the estate and a little bit of the culture and history of the Ravasqueira wines.
How did the project came to life?
The project was born from the awareness of the importance that wine tourism has in the diffusion of the wines from our brand and in the consumer's loyalty. Through experiences, that we believe are unique at Monte da Ravasqueira, we showcase a place of unique beauty and with a rich history. Thus, the whole project is born of this will and through a strong investment in support units to this activity, that culminated in the conquer of the 1st place at Drinks International with Best Educational Experience at the Wine Tourism Awards in 2015.
What are the main differentiating characteristics of your unit?
From the many characteristics that make this a unique place we highlight the simplicity, the autenticity of the food from Alentejo, combined with a certain refinement that is typical of this hill. The estate also has a unique collection of 37 carriages finely recovered, making this one of the largest collections in the world.
How would you describe the experience at Monte da Ravasqueira?
Monte da Ravasqueira occupies a large area of 3000 ha, has 12 lakes, walking tracks and unpaired landscapes. The ideal experience takes us to a country scenery where during the day the guest visits the Carriage Museum, the Winery, the vineyards and pairs the wines with the food from Alentejo, does a bike tour or a walking tour with a picnic. A few hours are not enough to enjoy all of these activities, so our recommendation if for visitors to stay the night at Monte da Ravasqueira, in our lodging unit.
What's the most famous wine experience at Monte da Ravasqueira? Why?
The most searched-for experience is the complete guided tour with wine tasting and meal at Monte da Ravasqueira. The quality of the food and the attention given to the visitor are mottos that we live by in every moment. That's the reason why so many people, both individuals as well as companies in the tourism industry, visit us. The service is of the highest quality.
What are the main questions and curiosities of the visitors?
First, they want to know more about the carriages, the concept and why we have a collection this big. About the wine culture, the main questions are about the vinification processes.
Which countries visit you the most?
First is Portugal, then EUA, Canada, Scandinavia and England.
Do you have any story or curiosity about Monte da Ravasqueira that you would like to share?
The whole estate is full of stories to tell. Being a family place, where such an important person in the national scenery from the 19th century lived, José Manuel de Mello, and in which he had such a great passion, every detail at Monte da Ravasqueira has its charm and personal touch; the carriages have stories, the houses too and even the trees have always something to tell.
The story that most captivates our visitor's attention is the story of the family's escape to Switzerland right after 25th April and during PREC [Ongoing Revolutionary Process] and the Agrarian Reform. The story is that when the estate was taken and nationalized by the rebels, the workers (around 600!!!) opposed to the invasion of the family house. After their return in 1986, there was still in the ashtray the cigarette butt of the last cigarette smoked by José Manuel de Mello's wife.
Other useful information about Monte da Ravasqueira
Monte da Ravasqueira offers also several support rooms to the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events) segment, among which: tile room with capacity for 80 people and another with capacity for 450 people. All of them are equipped with support technology for all kinds of events.
We thank Mário Gonzaga, at Monte da Ravasqueira, for the availability to share these stories and curiosities with us! Monte da Ravasqueira is a place full of history, as well as the best of Alentejo flavours making it one of teh best wine tours in Alentejo.