Posted February 4, 2010 by Kate Hamman
As a World Heritage site and a producer of many fine wines, Portugal's Douro River Valley is worth protecting. Come experience the natural beauty of its land by tasting organic olive oil, drinking biodynamic wine, and staying in a hotel that's powered by renewable energy and surrounded by nature. Best of all, you can save money while pleasing your conscience.
Casa Agricola Roboredo Madeira (CARM): Comprised of about 543 acres of organic olive groves, CARM has been family-run and producing extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) since the 17th century. Every harvest, the olives are pressed without adding any water, thus preserving the full flavor of the fruit. Come for a free tasting, and leave with a bottle of your own EVOO. CARM also makes and sells wine.
Quinta de Covela: As the first Portuguese wine estate to be accepted into the biodynamic Renaissance des Appellations group, Quinta de Covela takes pride in its biodynamic wines and stunning setting. The 47 acres of organic vines surround a 16th-century amphitheater overlooking the Douro River. All vintages are grown, handpicked, aged, and bottled on the premises.
Moinhos da Tia Antoninha: Using solar energy from a photovoltaic field and micro hydropower from a hydro-turbine, Moinhos da Tia Antoninha's renewable energy practices shine. The inn features three twin bedrooms, three doubles, and one apartment, and all come equipped with private bathrooms, central heating, and Internet access. The natural surroundings make it easy to spot many different wild animals in their element, including foxes and wolves. Rooms start at €70 per night (about $97, see XE.com for current conversion rates).
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(Photo: iStockPhoto/Luis Pedrosa)