62 Vineyard Stay in the Alentejo · Winzerferien im Alentejo Suddenly, he appears out of nowhere and stands in front of the jeep for three seconds before disappearing back into the undergrowth: a majestic stag with a tangle of briar caught in its antlers. He practically crosses paths with guests of the Herdade do Sobroso, on a wildlife safari organised by the owner. Filipe Teixeira Pinto bought 1600 hectares of land in the Alentejo, north of the Algarve, and has planted vines on much of it. He was able to harvest them for the first time in 2006, and now his wonderful whites and reds attract visitors from all over the world. His wife, Sofia, has renovated a handful of rooms for guests on the winery, in the relaxed style of an African lodge. You can directly sample the elegant wines with lunch or dinner in the on-site restaurant, with battered bacalhau (salted cod) or pieces of grilled pork from black Iberian pigs. Like Filipe Teixeira Pinto from Porto, several dedicated wine producers have been drawn to this hot part of Portugal. Others have been attracted back again, for there was a time when young people were driven away from the Alentejo by high levels of unemployment. Today, this region, which makes up almost a third of mainland Portugal, is an ideal envi- ronment for them. Grapes have been cultivated here since before the Romans arrived. For a long time, however, Alen- tejo wines were written off as being overly alcoholic. These days, wine producers are adopting a new, modern approach to the style of their product. They are transforming the old vineyards or farms they have either bought or taken over from their families into stylish hide-aways, having them reno- vated by renowned architects and furnished by famous designers. One example is the Torre de Palma Wine Hotel. The interior designer Rosarinho Gabriel, from Lisbon, has breathed a whole new life into the place. With spas and pools, on-site restau- rants serving up new, contemporary interpretations of Portuguese cuisine, wine tastings, wildlife safaris and horse-riding through the countryside – wine producers in the Alentejo have come up with many ways to attract tourists to this long-forgotten region. Now there are many happy visitors, and not just those who come for the weekend to escape the hordes of “Nothing makes one more familiar with the countryside than enjoying the wines that grow on its soil, and are illumined by its sun.” Ernst Jünger The master of the wines: Luis Duarte from Torre de Palma Wine Hotel Der Meister des Weines: Luis Duarte vom Torre de Palma Wine Hotel » Nichts macht mit der Landschaft vertrauter, als der Genuß der Weine, die auf ihrer Erde gewachsen und von ihrer Sonne durchleuchtet sind.« Ernst Jünger Old manor with new spirit: das Torre de Palma Wine Hotel Altes Gut mit neuem Spirit: das Torre de Palma Wine Hotel 63 Pictures: ©Torre de Palma Wine Hotel