For $8.2 Million, a Palace-Turned-Wine Estate in the North of Portugal
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For $8.2 Million, a Palace-Turned-Wine Estate in the North of Portugal

Located in the Vinho Verde wine region, the 23,700-square-foot Villa Beatriz has been in the same family since the early 1900s. Now the home is looking for a new steward

By J.S MARCUS
Fri, Jan 19, 2024 8:38amGrey Clock 4 min

In the early 1870s, Francisco Antunes de Oliveira Guimarães, a teenager from a rural corner of northern Portugal, made his way to Brazil. By century’s end he was a wealthy financier, and in the early years of the new century, he completed a palatial, three-story manor house for himself and his new bride, Beatriz, in the heart of Portugal’s Vinho Verde wine region. The nearly 100-acre property, reinvented in the 1990s as a thriving wine estate, has been the family seat ever since.

The property, with the main home’s original furniture and decorations largely intact, is now set to pass out of the family for the first time. The estate is on the market for roughly $8.2 million, a price that includes original hand-carved furniture fashioned from exotic tropical hardwood, according to Francisco’s granddaughter, Carmen Guimarães, 90, who has lived on the property since the early 1990s. Known as Villa Beatriz, in honour of Francisco’s bride, the 23,700-square-foot home has 13 bedrooms and eight bathrooms. With a number of outbuildings, it has over an acre of formal gardens decorated with classical statuary. The gardens, like the house itself, have been designated a historic landmark.

Carmen is selling the property along with her two daughters, Anabela Guimarães, 70, and Alexandra Guimarães, 67. Carmen says Francisco, born into a family of modest local landowners, was a Rio de Janeiro financial tycoon who started out selling lottery tickets and ended up founding a large bank. Still, he remained rooted in the area around the Ave River, which runs through the estate.

Built in an opulent Belle Époque-style, Villa Beatriz is a fusion of Brazilian materials and Portuguese craftsmanship. Rooms are presided over by intricate stucco ceilings. Atmospheric wall paintings, featuring everything from hunting scenes to tributes to Portugal’s Age of Exploration, decorate the walls of the main floor’s reception rooms and the bedrooms on the second floor. Even the onetime staff rooms, on the top floor, still have elaborate antique beds made from cherry wood.

Villa Beatriz is an imaginative blending of historical styles, says Tobias Hoffmann, director of Berlin’s Bröhan Museum, known for its collection of modern European decorative arts. The neo-Moorish tiled facade—which can be the same shade of blue as the Minho sky—gives way to a fanciful entrance hall decorated with neo-Renaissance trompe-l’oeil wall paintings. The formal dining room is a freewheeling mix of both Moorish and Renaissance touches, he says, while second-floor bedrooms have a neo-Rococo flair.

Camille Bressange/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

The estate has had its share of sorrows. Beatriz, Francisco’s wife, died before she could ever see the house he built for her. A generation later, Carmen, who never really knew her grandfather, moved there at age 12 to live with her aunt and uncle after both her parents died within a matter of months. A widow herself since 2010, Carmen is still active, and has more recently overseen the maintenance and restoration of the house on her own. “It looks exactly the same as it did when I was growing up,” she says.

The estate is located east of the city of Braga in the Vinho Verde region, which is known for its light, slightly fizzy, affordable whites. The Guimarães family had long produced wine for private consumption, but starting in the early 1990s Carmen and her late husband, textile manufacturer Carlos Alberto Rodrigues Guimarães, launched a modern commercial winemaking facility. They named their flagship wine Quinta Villa Beatriz, after the estate, and put the house itself on the label. Spread across 30 acres, the vines grow classic Vinho Verde white grape varieties, including Loureiro and Trajadura.

Though things have stayed pretty much the same at Villa Beatriz, the Vinho Verde region is undergoing its own reinvention, says José Ferreira, a sommelier at Lisbon’s Michelin-starred Belcanto restaurant. “Some great wines are starting to be produced there,” he says, citing a new wave of winemakers who are replacing traditional varieties with Alvarinho, a premium white grape that does well on either side of the Spanish-Portuguese border.

The prices of wine estates in Vinho Verde are increasing dramatically, but can still be far less than those of the adjacent Douro Valley, which produces Portugal’s most expensive wines, says Artur Pinto Leite, a senior consultant at the Porto office of Savills, who specializes in wine estates. Top Douro Valley wine estates can fetch prices in excess of $109,000 per hectare, he says—a level that can only be reached in Vinho Verde if Alvarinho has already been planted. The price of luxury homes in the two regions can vary dramatically, adds Pinto Leite, depending on ocean access in the case of Vinho Verde, and river proximity in the Douro areas.

Carmen and her daughters aren’t especially big wine drinkers, they say. But Anabela, who raised her own family not far away, can sound wistful while giving a tour of the winery her father built. Now a grandmother herself, the retired textile-company executive likes to recall that she was married in the manor house, as were her children. “My heart is here,” she says, of the property.

Her mother, however, is looking forward to the next chapter. Still managing daily trips up and down her imposing staircase, she is thrilled at the thought of moving to a home with only one story—and a fraction of the upkeep. And when it comes to wine, she has a confession to make: “I prefer a glass of Port.”

Ruy Nogueira of Luximos/Christie’s International Real Estate is handling the sale.



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It’s a slam dunk as a covetable $2m KDR site complete with basketball court hits the market in the Hills District

The ball is in the buyer’s court with this knockdown/rebuild opportunity

By KANEBRIDGE NEWS
Tue, Apr 18, 2023 2 min

Glenhaven in Sydney’s Hills District is one of those areas that locals tend to keep to themselves. Leafy with large blocks on offer, the suburb takes its name from its valley location, with the northern end originally known as the Glen and the southern end called the Haven. 

En route from Parramatta to the Hunter, Glenhaven has become an ideal place for growing families in search of a little more space, or even room to house several generations under one roof.

The challenge is finding properties that tick all the right boxes.

As demand for trades and supply chain issues continue to ease, now could be the right time for a knockdown/rebuild project for would-be buyers looking to create their dream home.

Fairmont Homes specialises in knockdown/rebuild projects in Sydney. General manager at Fairmont Homes, Daniel Logue, said there are key features to look for when choosing a knockdown/rebuild site.

“The key items we look for are the site falling to the street, not to the rear, to help with stormwater drainage as well as access to the site,” he said. “Neighbouring property front setbacks are also important. In some older areas, the older houses are set closer to the street, meaning your new home will have to be set to suit.

“Value for money and the return on the end sale price of the home is another issue.”

If possible, he said designing a home that meets the criteria of the Complying Development legislation will speed up approvals considerably.

While suitable knockdown/rebuild sites can be hard to find in Glenhaven, there are still hidden opportunities if you know where to look.

One block at 158 Gilbert Road, Glenhaven is ideally suited for rejuvenation. With almost 850sqm to play with, it slopes down to the street and sits between neighbouring properties that have already been stylishly updated.

 

 

An existing basketball court at the rear could provide the perfect teen backdrop to a family home, or it could make way for a larger house with landscaped gardens and pool. Alternatively, it could be the perfect position for a cabana or granny flat to serve as in-law accommodation or a source of secondary income.

With recent sales of completed homes in nearby streets reaching well above $5 million, it’s a great opportunity to make a slam dunk of a buy into one of Sydney’s best kept secrets.

Address: 158 Gilbert Road, Glenhaven
Price guide: $1.8 million
Inspection: By appointment only

 

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