When we found Malhadinha, we fell in love with the property! Initially, we were planning to have a farm with some animals, where we could rest and do something different. We were thinking of producing wine and creating a brand. We began looking for the right place, and we found Malhadinha.
At the time, this was a 500-acre property, with an abandoned house for more than 30 years and everything around it growing wild. Everything was done sustainably, step by step. Renovating the house and planting the vineyard was the first step in 2001. Then, in 2003, we rebuilt the winery to process the first harvest.
At the property, there was also an abandoned house called Monte da Peceguina (we later named one of our wines after the house) that could be transformed in accommodation for guests who came to taste our wines to stay and enjoy what we’re passionate about.
In 2006 we began to rebuild the ruins, and in 2008 we opened the hotel. We strive to showcase two of the most important heritages in Alentejo, wine and food, through workshops and other activities.
We are very focused on experiences, so we also offer horseback rides, bird watching activities, and tours on four-wheel motorcycles. Guests at Herdade da Malhadinha Nova will definitely have the most genuine relationship with nature. We try to be subtle in all that we do so we don’t limit the direct contact with nature to allow guests to enjoy all that Alentejo has to give us.
All the labels feature original drawings by our children. Francisca, the oldest, was born in the same year we bought the property, and she planted the first vineyard with us. But they all grew up alongside the project. At the moment, my five children and the two kids of my brother in law, who works with us, are the authors of our wine labels.
Our story and mission
I was born in Lisbon but moved to the Algarve with my parents when I was 5. I met my husband there, who also moved when he was little, and I began helping him and my parents in law at the wine distribution company they owned. With such a strong connection to wine distribution for so many years (the company turned 35 in 2018), we began to show more interest for wine producing, which is a lot more interesting than distribution.
At the time, Malhadinha Nova didn’t have vineyards nor electricity, and the closest wine region was Vidigueira, which made us think twice about the project although we loved the property. We ran some soil tests and realised it was perfect for what we wanted to develop. We took things slowly: first, we had the winery in 2003, then people began to ask us if they could stay for lunch. We didn’t have a restaurant at the time, but our housekeeper was a local and a wonderful cook, so we started to take some meal orders. It turned out to be a success, and we opened the restaurant in 2007 and the hotel in the next year.
Our first batch of Malhadinha red wine, harvested in 2003, won a significant international award at the International Wine Challenge. It won the top prize, with three trophies: best Alentejo wine, best Portuguese wine, and international revelation award. It was a first for Portuguese wine.
Now we produce olive oil (we have a traditional olive grove where we grow Galician olives), beef, certified black pork, and Lusitano pure breed horses (we founded our own stable a few years ago).
In the beginning, we planned this tourism business around wine but, considering the size and the potential of the property, we wanted to create thematic experiences around nature, wellness, wine, and food. We created two, three, and five nights packages where the thematic experiences are more detailed depending on the duration of your stay. That’s our selling point.
To feel the space
We fell in love with and were adopted by Alentejo. We knew we wanted to do everything with respect for the local environment and traditions. We keep things small but innovative and with high quality, based on the values and traits of what Alentejo is and what it can give to our guests.
When it comes to the wine industry, Alentejo is the most famous Portuguese region internationally.
Now we spend all weekends here at that house that was abandoned for 30 years. We come with the children on Friday and leave for the Algarve, for school, on Monday. I love Alentejo, and I feel Malhadinha Nova keeps me very busy. In the meantime, wine became a passion of mine and, as time goes by, I can see myself living in Alentejo in the future, fully dedicated to what we created here.
This is an area with a great diversity of bird species. Sometimes we spot bustards in some places of Malhadinha, which makes bird watching activities even more interesting.