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In Conversation: Miguel de Sousa Otto

I first met Miguel thanks to the recommendation by the pilot on a hot air balloon flight, while I was scouting for trips as well as accommodations in the beautiful Alentejo area, back in 2014.

As we flew over the river I asked about the white buildings high up on its banks and the pilot informed me that a hotel was just opening there, and gave me the number of its owner, Miguel de Sousa Otto. 

Sure enough, I drove there and had the great luck of meeting the owner in person, on-site from Porto to oversee construction.


Miguel had acquired the Herdade do Vau in 2006, an old farm in ruins then, after seeing it by chance, on a hunting trip. It was love at first sight, his wife Maria Manuel flew in to see it, and they bought it the next day. The initial idea was to grow one of the best wines of the Alentejo.

But by 2014 his daughter had finished her studies as an architect and together they started renovating, the result being a wonderful, intimate Hotel with 9 rooms and much space.

 Our own friendship of now 10 years resulted.

I was at the Herdade with several German and American groups and had a 3-day birthday party there, with a dozen friends, complete with a tennis tournament, communal cooking, trips to attractions of the area and of course much singing and dancing!

 As a true Portuguese gentleman, Miguel has inspired me in style, the elegant modo de vida and of course wine.

So I am not surprised to find Miguel with a glass of wine while taking this interview.



Let’s see what he is having:

Miguel: „Well at this very moment, I’m drinking a superb Madeira wine (Bual Reserve) from Barbeito Winery, cheers! But nothing compares to a glass of Riso Unico with family and friends at Herdade do Vau over the Guadiana River!“

Claudio: „What is the colour of the moment for you?“

Miguel: „Definitely Olive green! It transports me to my beautiful Alentejo.“

Claudio: „Does one have to follow fashion? Do trends influence your work?“

Miguel: „I’m not a fashion follower…What I look for - when it comes to fashion – is impeccable quality and comfort. Things that last. Like the very good socks of Hermani Heritage, I use the knee-high ones! Trends influence my work, without any doubt. But I’m always looking for future trends, new paths…This happens in all my various professional occupations.“

Claudio: „Is there something in your wardrobe that has a special story?“

Miguel: „Quite a few…but I’m going to share the story of the oldest piece I still wear: a Portuguese navy duffle coat! 100 years old, it is in impeccable condition and was used by my grandfather and my father."


Miguel de Sousa Otto was born in Mozambique, which he left at 14, because of the Portuguese Revolution of 1974. He worked in banking and then started his first company, as a strategic marketing consultant. He also started investing, as a business angel, mainly in Portuguese start-ups in the areas of technology and health. 

Link: https://www.herdadedovau.com

Please contact us at Hermani Heritage to arrange a special stay in this very special place! For groups, we can arrange a complete package.