Stuart Forster visits the Quinta da Timpeira homestay in the Douro Valley, Portugal.
The Douro Valley is renowned for being the home of the world’s first demarcated wine region. It is the area from which grapes are sourced to produce port in the post houses of Vila Nova de Gaia, close to the mouth of the River Douro..
The Quinta da Timpeira homestay
The Quinta da Timpeira, is an attractive homestay property with seven guestrooms. An agrotourism project, it is set on a four-hectare estate with vineyards and orchards on the south side of the Douro Valley.
The family-run estate opened its doors to paying guests three decades ago. Since the turn of 2011-12 the Quinta da Timpeira has been under the management of Vasco and Rita Parente.
The affable hosts are present at breakfast and dinner, reinforcing the sense that you’re dropping in to stay with a family. Need to tap a local’s knowledge about things to do in the Douro Valley? Meal times provide a good opportunity to ask Vasco for recommendations.
All of the seven double bedrooms have en suite bathrooms.
Vasco pointed with pride out that the house is decorated with furniture that previously belonged to his grandmother. Brass pots and a polished wooden floor add notes of smart rusticity.
Spacious rooms and rustic comfort
The house has a spacious communal room, decorated with leather sofas and a fireplace. It’s a good spot to relax with a glass of locally made wine on evenings.
Breakfast is served in the same room, whose large windows afford good views towards the Medeas mountains.
Unlike some of the estates in this region, the Quinta da Timpeira is not a major wine producer. Most of the grapes grown on the estate are sold to produce sparkling wine. About a thousand bottles are produced for consumption by the Parente family and their guests.
Depending on when you visit fresh apples and cherries may also be available. The estate has 900 cherry trees.
As we walked down to the wine cellar, Vasco pointed out an elegant dark wood, glass-fronted cupboard in which bottles of wine were stored. It was once used to lock away medicines prescribed by one of his pharmacist ancestors.
Locally made Douro wine
Wine stomping takes place in the cellar each autumn. Decorative wooden barrels are a reminder of that annual event. Locally produced handicrafts are displayed on the wine cellar’s back wall. So too are homemade jams. The effect is attractively rustic, creating a fine setting for wine tastings.
Vasco point out we shouldn’t set our expectations too highly; after all his wines were not produced for wider sale. He then uncorks a bright, summery white wine and a quaffable red.
As we sip wine and taste local sausage Vasco explains that, for him, moving here to take over the running of the estate was a lifestyle decision that allowed him to make use of his professional training.
The estate makes a positive impression and has the laid-back feel that visitors may well hope for when visiting rural properties in this part of Portugal.
Non-staying guests can call ahead (tel. +351 254 612 811) to book a set menu lunch at the Quinta da Timpeira.
Booking ahead is highly recommended, particularly in the Douro’s harvest time (normally the second and third week in September).
Travel to Portugal
TAP Portugal, British Airways and easyJet count among the airlines offering flights from the UK to Porto Airport in Portugal.
See the UK Government website to see official Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office advice about travel to Portugal.
Quinta da Timpeira
See the Quinta da Timpeira website for more information about the estate.
The property is located approximately 2.5 kilometres (1.5 miles) from Lamego, the nearest town.
Douro Valley hotels
Search for Douro Valley hotels and homestays via Booking.com:
The Visit Portugal website has information about things to do and see in the Douro Valley.
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A version of this post was first published on Go Eat Do on 29 March 2013.