Villas&Golfe Angola
· Gourmet · · T. Maria Cruz · P. Edson Azevedo

Rafaela Pinto

«Because we always believe that Angola has a future, we have never given up on the country»

PMmedia Adv.
At 27 years of age she is perhaps living, let’s face it, one of the greatest adventures of her life on Angolan soil. Rafaela Pinto may be young, but she has unbelievable courage and strength, which are clear to see as soon as you meet her. She came to Angola three years ago. At a time when the country was going through a crisis, mainly in the construction sector – the business area in which the family company, MSTR, operates. In 2021, after a visit to the Fortaleza shopping centre in Luanda, she decided to bring from Portugal the flavours of her homeland and wines – another area of the family business –, and ventured into opening a gourmet outlet, where you can find the products of Quinta da Terrincha, which belongs to the family. A challenge, and a successful one at that. The idea for the shop was hers – she wasn’t afraid. She confessed to us that, in a certain way, she felt «protected by having the family background». But, even so, it takes courage, to take risks at a time of pandemic. She says she never «feels alone», because it is «the great secret of the family», everyone can count on each other. She is the oldest granddaughter of the house. And she is a source of pride.
How did you get to Angola at this young age?
I’m part of the Seixas Pinto family. I’m the third generation. When I came to Angola, this business group already existed, from the time of my father, his brothers and my grandparents. My family has been here since 2006. We opened a construction company in 2008. After finishing law school, I decided to continue this boat, which is the family, and dedicate myself to its projects. I left my legal life aside. I came here without thinking much about what my life would become.  

What has this challenge been like?
When I arrived, the country was in a crisis, mainly with regard to the construction sector. We had no projects. Fortunately, this is a stable, well-established company, with very strong pillars, and because we always believe that Angola has a future, we have never given up on the country. Of course, this comes from those who started this project. We believed that things would change sooner or later. I’ve been here for three years. It’s a completely different situation to what it was 10 years ago. What I see in Angola is an evolution. We had the pandemic, but the doors have begun to open, especially this year.

«What I see in Angola is an evolution»
And it was precisely during the pandemic that you opened the gourmet shop?
We knew that the world wouldn’t stop forever because of a pandemic, that is to say, just like in a crisis, things go back to normal. My family already had business connected to winegrowing for a few years, which started in Portugal, with Quinta da Terrincha, and when I came to Angola (until then only men in the family had come here, I was the only woman to come) of course I brought this more intimate and refined side of the family. The company MSTR is based in Bié, I stayed in Luanda as the administrative head of the company. The Fortaleza shopping centre opened in December 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, I visited the space and realised it had the potential to stand out from the rest with the gourmet shop. At the time, they asked me why open in a shopping centre with no shops, at a time of pandemic, in a country in crisis. We believed that we had the possibility to make a go of it here. I always knew that I would bring something different, that I would present wine in a different way. We want to show people squarely who we are, wine is not just for drinking, wine has a story behind it. So the first step was to open a shop. This year we are going to take another step. We have five ranges of wine, the latest one, Terrincha, then we have Quinta da Terrincha, which is one range up, we have the two Reservas, this is always the case with red and white, and last year we launched a Grande Reserva. We cater to a high-end target group and so this year, as we want to reach other people, we are going to launch a lower range of wine in September, which will be called Pêra Amarela, so that we can also be present in supermarkets.  

What can we find in the gourmet shop?
The shop is very much focused on Quinta da Terrincha products, mostly wine, which is our main product. Besides that, we have olive oil, jams made from our fruit and sheep and goat cheese. Then, because it is a new shop, and because it is essential to create the need for the customer to come to us, we brought Castelbel, a Portuguese fragrance brand, and Nespresso, because it’s a much sought-after product, and can’t always be found in the large supermarkets. The concept of the shop was to bring our products, but to set up a gourmet shop. Something with quality. We also have almonds, from Torre de Moncorvo. And we also have two partnerships with Iva Viana (who makes flowers in plaster) and Sofia Sustelo (who makes ceramics with touches of gold).

«I always knew that I would bring something different, that I would present wine in a different way»
This shop was launched in the pandemic. How has it evolved, has it been worth investing in this concept?
The shop was launched on the August 15, 2021, in the middle of the pandemic. I don’t regret anything I’ve done. The shop has been very well received by the Angolan public. Of course, Christmas was the best time for us, it was new, we created hampers for the festive season. This half year has been good, the shop has been talked about, the wine is talked about because of its quality. We already have customers who look for their favourite wines there, loyal customers.

And what about the outlook?
At the moment the construction company is growing. We want to expand the business, probably open a new shop, not in Luanda, but in Talatona. And to reach supermarkets with the new standout wine.
Maria Cruz
T. Maria Cruz
P. Edson Azevedo