Quinta da Pacheca has been distinguished with several awards as a result of the investment and work of Paulo Pereira and Maria do Céu Gonçalves, two Portuguese businessmen based in France who decided to create this project of excellence and to leverage the development of the Douro region in 2012. The “MUNDO PORTUGUÊS” Journal has been with them to learn more and spoke with Paulo Pereira and Sandra Dias, Deputy General Manager of Quinta da Pacheca.
Quinta da Pacheca was considered by the public the best wine tourism unit in the Douro in an election held under the “Best of Wine Tourism”, a worldwide competition promoted by the “Great Wine Capitals Global Network”.
Having already been distinguished by the international jury as the absolute winner of the award, the contest organization submitted the various candidates to the public for electronic voting and most voters chose the Lamego unit as the best among the 67 units of Wine Tourism from the 10 wine countries / regions in competition (Adelaide, Australia; Bilbao, Spain; Bordeaux, France; Lausanne, Switzerland; Mainz, Germany; Mendoza, Argentina; Porto, Portugal; San Francisco, United States of America; Valparaiso, Chile and Verona, Italy).
The Best of Wine Tourism had already awarded Quinta da Pacheca three other prizes: in 2017 it won in the category of Best Wine Restaurant; in 2016 in the category of ‘Innovative Experiences in Wine Tourism’ and in 2015 in the category of ‘Accommodation’.
For Paulo Pereira, “this award praises the team spirit and comes in the continuity of what we always wanted to do here when trying to bring a new breath to the Douro region since the region was a little asleep, so to speak”.
To the managing partner of Quinta da Pacheca, “We are also actors, or at least participate in the growth and development of the Douro region, along with the other projects in the region. We have taken some pioneering spirit and our experience has also moved others. Our activity has helped to create momentum in the region that competition is also trying to keep up. And this is good for us. Our high level of demand also makes others more demanding. This is partly one of our goals, it does not make us competitors, it is actually a positive factor and what we indirectly seek. Healthy competition with a common end is good for the Douro and good for the country above it all. ” For Paulo Pereira the secret seems simple: what is different attracts people and“this was the basis of our project: to step out of the classic Douro region offering and find something completely innovative. And we will have other news, this path is to continue,”he said.
“So far we have been active in events and hospitality, but we want to position ourselves among the best world-class wines. This is our goal. We haven’t done it yet because we didn’t have stock. We did vineyard conversion and several investments that will only bear fruit in the medium and short term. We don’t want to be just the hotel, or the events venue, we want to position ourselves among the best wines in the world. This is how we want to affirm ourselves,”he said, emphasizing that the company’s objective is to create wines of excellence to compete on major international stages along with the best wines in the world, usually associated with France or Italy.
To the businessman, “to speak well about the Douro region is also to speak well about Quinta da Pacheca. Competition is a word that does not exist for us. We consider that we have colleagues and there is no aggression, this is how I see things. There is a certain tendency here for each one to ‘pull the ember to his sardines’ (Portuguese saying), but we don’t see our activity like that and I think it has given some results, because by promoting Quinta da Pacheca we are also promoting a very positive image of the Douro. I believe that we have made the Douro region very dynamic with what we have done and the Douro is not only Quinta da Pacheca. Before promoting Quinta da Pacheca we have to promote the Douro region. By promoting the Douro we promote Pacheca, the region and Portugal. We must combat individualistic attitudes”said the businessman.
According to Sandra Dias, the public voting prize is very important because “in addition to the jury vote, which is more technical and more specific, the public vote from around the world elected our unity among the whole contest. The winning project among all worldwide. ”
For the Deputy General Manager, Quinta da Pacheca is never a finished project. “There will always be associated projects and an intention to differentiate experiences. The latest addition is Atelier d´OR, with a resident artist who is always creating artworks related to wine, the vineyard and the Douro when not doing activities with clients”.
Sandra Dias also praised the fact that “we have customers from all over the world, Asia, South and North America, from every continent. In terms of accommodation and activity we are currently talking about 30 percent of clients in the domestic market and 70 percent in international market. ”
To this phenomenon has also contributed the word of mouth that “helps to convey our message so that today we have customers from Brazil and the United States who cross the Atlantic to live the experience of sleeping in the barrels.”
“In the barrels we have international customers with paid reservations until 2022. Although we still have availability, many people from South Africa, the United States, Asia who have heard of this experience have already blocked dates to visit us. In Tourism it is not usual to have reservations more than two years in advance to live the experiences that have now been recognized worldwide”, added Paulo Pereira. According to Sandra Dias there will be more news, “we will have new wine cellars, new barrels and a special barrel and the strategy is precisely that wines boost tourism and vice versa. And both have to be at the same level of excellence”, she said.