Join Morgado do Quintão with their latest Artist in Residency, Alexandria Coe from London who will be doing an art and wine workshop on the 18th of February starting at 11am.

The workshop is a life drawing session which follows a wine tasting and a three course Portuguese lunch set at the beautiful Morgado do Quintão in Lagoa. It was great to uncover this hidden gem and I can see why it is an Algarve landmark. I was welcomed by Duarte Rito from Morgado do Quintão, who kindly gave a tour of the tranquil and ever so idyllic family owned farmstay and vineyard.

The story of Morgado do Quintão

Duarte shared with me the farm and vineyards fantastic history, "This farm is one of the oldest farms in the Algarve and was once one of the largest farms in the Algarve and we maintain the tradition of wine production and we plan to start with the production of olive oil. We have modernized the way we do things but still have kept our roots and a lot of what was done in the past.”

“The farm was established by the Count of Silves with Silves being the capital of the Algarve prior to it being Faro and this farm has stayed in this family for generations, even to today.”

In 2016, Teresa Pereira Caldas de Vasconcellos owned Morgado do Quintão and when she passed away it was her son Filipe Caldas de Vasconcellos who became the current owner. “He decided that he wanted to keep the farm in the family but has made some changes including the fact that everything has become organic, they do not use herbicides or pesticides and have low human intervention when it comes to their wine.” They have been very successful with their wines and in just “four years they have grown from 2,000 to 20,000 bottles produced annually.” Additionally, what also makes this place so special is that they have accommodation which has proved to be very popular; “they have three houses with two having a capacity for eight people and the main house having space for up to 10 people.” Duarte further told me that “they have been managing the pandemic well because of the way each house is isolated and that they are fully equipped for a family to live in, a place where guests have felt safe and they can even enjoy having their own garden and a swimming pool.” He added that they do lots of events here including weddings and birthday celebrations, explaining that “we have these events in the low season because we have a lot of guests who stay at our accommodation in Summer, adding that we already have fourteen weddings planned for this year.”

Morgado do Quintão’s connection with art

Duarte told me that “Filipe’s mother was an experimental contemporary artist and teacher, who taught art classes and whose work had a deep connection to the land.” Her children make a strong point of maintaining this connection and open the doors to artistic creation. They wanted to bring this to the farm so we started artist in residency programmes where artists do some workshops and “this connects to their wine labels as we invite the artist to draw and design our labels and every year, we change one of our wines labels to have a work of art from Filipe’s mother.”

What to expect from this workshop?

I then had the pleasure of speaking with artist Alexandria Coe who told me she has been teaching life drawing classes on retreats and around different places in London. She explained that “this will be a similar class but as we are in the Algarve it might be a little bit more organic, which anyone can do as it is simply how to draw a body and it is not made for artists although you can still enjoy it as an artist.”

“The aim of the class is that to draw like an artist is to draw what you see so there is no skill really, it is just can you look with your eyes and draw what you actually see in front of you and to do that you need to relax, you need to warm up, maybe a glass of wine might help. You need to people to relax a little bit and the idea is that you can draw neutrally and you can draw without the pretence of that as it is just a naked body.” “It is the ability to just be interested in what you are looking at and for it to be a really good drawing you need to be concentrating and looking and then as you grow in confidence, the drawings can be really confident.”

“It is a traditional life drawing class in the subject and there will be a few exercises, that just get people into a really creative mood and not to take themselves too seriously. Then we just run through the class and it should be really enjoyable and no one is judging what anyone else is doing and I sometimes give examples. The idea is that you will end up with some simple line drawings and I teach a way in which I think everyone can end up with that in the end.”

“From someone who is not artistic, you might say you draw a naked body and they have much more connotations than you do, like that it is it sexual, is it sexualised and I am like it is just a naked body, you were naked when you were born or when you take a shower in the morning.”

Morgado do Quintão Wine

Duarte told me that they are in “a truly privileged place for the production of wine and their soil makes it easy for our roots, their vineyard is dry and does not rely on water. They also have many fruits trees surrounding the farm, which is why their wines will always be fruitier and have some floral notes.” Their wines are unique, with a modern twist, in fact instead of making a rosé wine they have a “Palhete” wine and instead of red wine they have a “Clarete”. We later did wine tasting, which I can confirm was a delightful experience and their wine tops all of the wines I have tried in the Algarve so it is that good that I urge wine lovers to discover them.

They sell their refreshing wines at the farm, with Duarte telling me that “they are available to buy after the gastronomic events they do they pair them with wine tasting, which is done daily but you can also contact them directly to order your preferred wine.” “In terms of distribution, they sell their wines at Apolónia and selected off licences and at many restaurants. Our wines are also sold internationally, whereby we have distributors in England, France and in New York. We plan to increase our production; we currently have 14 hectares and we would like to expand to a further seven and we are planting a new vineyard in March.”

For more information about Morgado do Quintão please visit https://www.morgadodoquintao.pt/ where you can book your space for this week’s workshop under “Experiences” on their website. Alternatively, you can call +351 965 202 529 or email info@morgadodoquintao.pt. For more information about Alexandria Coe, please see https://alexandriacoe.com.