I repeated my morning walk around town, came back and ate breakfast, and headed out to Porto Morretes, traversing the same dangerous road that I had the previous day. This time, however, I had an appointment. When I got to the gates and pressed the buzzer, I was let in to the very private facility.
The winding dirt driveway led to a modern, large facility, where workers scurried about from place to place. I was met at the main office by Bruna Gomes.
Bruna, one of the managers of the distillery had studied the brewery business as an undergraduate. But when she was looking for jobs, nearing graduation, one of her professors happened to be an owner of Porto Morretes. She got hired and since then she has become an advocate of distilled spirits.
Like Ouro Morretes, Porto Morretes has restrictions on the amount of sugarcane that it can produce. It works with two other distilleries outside of Morretes to produce its award-winning cachaça. The distillery has become well-known in Brazil, especially since one of its products came home with the top prize from a major country-wide award.
But Porto Morretes has gone further than many of its competitors, having launched a brand in the United States called Novo Fogo. Partially due to the fact that one of the primary owners of the distillery is American, Novo Fogo has gone on to great success thus far in its short life.
After receiving a tour of the facility, I, of course, had the opportunity to sample a broad range of products, including those of Novo Fogo, which are not currently for sale in Brazil.
I found the Novo Fogo offerings particularly interesting because they are quite a bit more exotic than the fair that most distilleries offer in Brazil. I don’t know much about the purchasing audience, obviously, but I would imagine that they most likely include adventurous drinkers.
After a tour and sampling of a couple of hours, I made several purchases, thanked Bruna for her time, and headed out.
Since arriving in the area, I’d tried to find a time to do some hiking. Given the mountain ridges and jungle environs, I thought that my post-distillery time could be spent on a nice hike. I found a state park named Pico do Marumbi that wasn’t too far from where I was, and set out.
I made it to the entrance of the state park rather quickly, but found that the road leading up to the main trail was, as I’d found other roads in the area, not entirely hospitable. It took me about 30 minutes to drive the five kilometers to the entrance. And when I reached it, I found that I couldn’t park inside, I had to park on the road.
What I would like to call a park ranger greeted me, though he didn’t wear any uniform suggesting that he had such a position. Though I wanted a shorted walk, the most amenable hike was one hour each way up to an old train station. However, he told me that if I wanted a longer walk there were some four and five hour excursions.
I hadn’t interest in such a walk, but the two-hour hike seemed up my alley.
Because it was the middle of the week, I saw no one else, save one other couple who was just ahead of me on the slope. It was a beautiful day, and fortunately, the rain stayed away.
There were plenty of flora and fauna in the area, and ample sites for great pictures. It took me a little less than an hour to make it to my destination, an abandoned train site, which looked as though it hadn’t been used in a decade.
I spent a bit of time exploring the area and then began my descent. It took me under forty minutes to get back down. I thanked the park ranger and got on my way. By that time, I was sweating profusely. I needed to cool down.
Back in Morretes, the city was starting to awaken from its multi-day slumber. A number of restaurants that hadn’t been open before were now open. It was nearly 2 pm, but the location I entered was still accepting lunch patrons. Vila Morretes was right next to the river and had serene views, which kept me entertained as I ate grilled chicken with various accompaniments and sipped the various cachaças that they had available FOR FREE.
I suppose that most people didn’t take advantage of the perk the way that I did. When my meal was over, it was late. I returned to the beer garden next to the pousada where I spent much of the rest of the afternoon and early evening. The weather was quite good so there were more tourists out and about. The weekend was coming.
Sadly, for me, that was my last full day in Morretes and the last full day of my trip. I had one more excursion to make the following day, which would be a cherry on top of all my adventures.