The dos Santos family left a successful stainless-steel business in South Africa to pursue the dream of running a vineyard. The culmination of their aspirations is the family-run wine farm, craft brewery and restaurant. Tomorrow spoke to Greg dos Santos about how the family achieved their dream in Portugal.
“Quinta dos Santos was born out of passion. My parents, Ann and Eugene, always dreamed of retiring on a vineyard. For many years we owned a holiday home on Vale de Pinta and came to the Algarve for our family holidays as my father is Portuguese.”
On one visit, the family saw some adjoining land for sale and acquired the eight-hectare site as an investment, with no plans for the future estate. Greg studied for a degree in financial management and accounting in Cape Town but decided to pursue a career that was more social and people-oriented. He became interested in creating a craft beer and worked for five different breweries in Cape Town.
When Greg, his brother Kyle and his parents started to consider leaving South Africa to start a new life, they began to dream about what they could do with their investment. “We started to think about how we could do something on this site that would help us realise our dreams and be good for the area.” In 2016, they started clearing the neglected and overgrown land.
The result is a stunning vineyard nestled in the countryside between Ferragudo and Carvoeiro with three hectares under vine and one hectare of olives. The new contemporary buildings are sympathetic to the landscape and local heritage. They include a winery and cellar, a brewery, taproom and a restaurant – all set amongst almond, carob, holm oaks and ancient olive trees. Crumbling limestone walls meander around the estate while cobbled drainage channels are ancient features of the working landscape. While clearing the land they also discovered an ancient aqueduct system that has been restored with great care.
Greg realised his ambitions of creating a beer that he describes as “a craft beer between commercial and artisan.” It is easy to drink in the hot Algarve climate with a moderate alcohol content compared to commercial beer. Dos Santos Craft beer offers a pilsner, amber ale, lager, pale ale, IPA and stout (all brewed using top-quality ingredients from around the world).
Escolhido is their entry-level wine. Using grapes harvested from local vineyards which are produced and bottled at the estate under this label. Their Tesouro wine, which translates as treasured, utilises their fantastic soil content and optimum climatic growing conditions. They produce wines described as “bio-dynamic,” including a sparkling wine manufactured in the traditional champenoise method.
Their Wild Algarve gin brand is crafted to infuse 13 hand-picked, wild Algarve botanicals and has robust flavours of juniper berries and herbaceous mint. It is complemented with hints of citrus and spice.
The farm is also growing more vegetables and herbs to supply the restaurant’s kitchen. Their goal is to go as far as they can towards a ‘field to fork’ concept. They change the menu three times a year to supply only seasonal ingredients and seat a maximum of 160 people.
The farm is not only popular with diners but has become a sought-after wedding venue and corporate entertaining location.
Despite Greg’s brother Kyle having moved to London to pursue some personal ambitions, the estate still remains a family affair. Greg oversees the production and his girlfriend Mariana is involved in the restaurant. His grandmother has also just moved from South Africa to occupy a converted cottage on the estate.
The roots of the Dos Santos family have certainly been replanted. They are now flourishing back in Portuguese soil and the estate looks set to spread its branches in the future.
Tomorrow sent the anonymous Yum Yum boys to give their thoughts on the food, you can read the review next month.
Rua do Pestana Golf 1, Estombar, Lagoa 8400
+351 282 343 264