Green Globe’s coverage of São Lourenço do Barrocal’s inaugural certification continues with Part 2 of their best practices.
Susana Lourenço, Marketing Director at the estate said, “We believe experiencing local products, food, history, landscapes and stories is the way to contribute to the development of the local economy, our own business and a sensibility towards the land and the region. We strive for this everyday.”
São Lourenço do Barrocal is committed to the local landscape, the community, its history and connection to the land to foster a type of tourism aimed at respecting and experiencing the area’s authenticity. Self-sustainability is a main priority following principles established in the 19th-century when the property grew to become a thriving farming village that provided livestock, grain, vegetables and wine for 50 resident families. The revitalization of the estate pays homage to local architecture and regionally produced materials. Roof tiles, bricks, cobblestones and furniture found on-site were reused and long lasting materials were used in refurbishments.
Guests are encouraged to discover the region and its local offerings which are largely unknown by many. Curiosity has grown in rediscovering Monsaraz, Alentejo and what it is to experience ‘monte alentejano’. With first hand knowledge of the site’s heritage and culture, staff provide insight into the unique identity of the region and principles of self-sustainability. They advise guests about what to experience, where to go and where to eat. Visitors can enjoy many activities that highlight local culture and a sense of place including bike trips, picnics, hot air balloon rides, bread and pottery workshops and wine tastings among others.
“We encourage a prosperous and caring community able to restore to the site its self-sustaining activity and create an emotional connection,” added Susana Lourenco.
São Lourenço do Barrocal is a special place, conducive to multiple and enriching experiences. It offers quality service materialized in a heritage location coupled with the estate’s own agricultural production. Guests have a remarkable opportunity to immerse themselves in a lifestyle where they can taste the essence of traditional Portuguese produce and goods.
The estate has vineyards, olive groves, fields of oats, horses and certified cattle that feed on natural pastures, orchards and an organic vegetable garden which provides fresh, seasonal produce for the farm to table restaurant with a focus on Alentejo cuisine. And limited edition wines are produced at the estate’s winery, highlighting the region’s reputation for winemaking. Guests are invited to experience a working farm, establishing roots with the land and people, while never leaving the comfort and amenities of contemporary life.
The estate’s development into a sustainable tourism destination has seen a revival of the local community and increased employment opportunities. With the opening of São Lourenço do Barrocal in March 2016, a team of 57 employees was created, 95% are from the local region. Increased permanent job opportunities means staff and their children can now remain in the Alentejo which has experienced a dwindling population since the 1950s. Previous residents returning and new ones arriving have stimulated local economic growth. Vacant houses are now occupied and training is provided in conjunction with the Municipality of Employment and Vocational Training Office to address the shortage of skilled personnel.