Dona Dorinda comes to life in a small gem just outside Évora


When I think ‘Dona Dorinda’ I picture an elderly Alentejo woman, with a headscarf, sitting in the shade, shunning from the southern heat. But here, Dorinda is American, her husband is Dutch and the couple is the current owner of Quinta de Nossa Senhora da Conceição.

After years of holidays spent in Portugal, they heard of the estate on the outskirts of Évora, bought it and made it their second home. The dwelling, dating back to 1932, was fully restored following the local design, its white and yellow hues being a good match for all the surrounding greenery.

The roughly 9 acres of vineyard are entirely organic and scrupulously taken care of to ensure Dona Dorinda complies wit h all regulations and remains 100% organic. The healthy grapevines are a delight t o the eyes of visitors. It is indeed an inspiring and eye-catching varieties garden!

Vítor is in charge of the whole project, making it a true one man show. He looks after the house, the vines, orchard, tourism, winemaking, wine promotion and selling, always committed and devoted. It was him that showed me around the property, on a perfect spring day, warm and sunny, smelling of orange flowers, lemon, pomegranate and other fruit trees.

This is where Dona Dorinda red is born – in perfect keeping with Alentejo’s rustic and traditional spirit, an elegant, ambitious and well-travelled wine! It is its only ‘child’, sourced mainly from the Syrah variety, with a bit of the white Viognier, and sold in the US, the Netherlands and some wineries and restaurants in Portugal.

I tasted it outside the estate’s chapel, today turned wine shop, sitting on a stone bench under the sun. The first scent was very fruity, but the taste was more delicate. We kept talking and after a few minutes, it didn’t even feel like the same wine! Dona Dorinda is one of those wines that unfold in the glass, surprising in every sip, and proof that organic no longer means low quality.

Only 9 acres produce a wine seldom sold in Portugal, but yes, I can assure you the trip is worth the trouble. Dona Dorinda is one of the most charming properties in Alentejo I’ve recently been to!

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