Capela Nossa Senhora das Neves
After a terrible drought, townspeople used wine to build this church.
When a horrendous drought swept through their region, locals in southern Brazil’s Vale dos Vinhedos (Valley of Vineyards) ingeniously built their church using wine, a testament to their resilience and faith.
Capela Nossa Senhora das Neves was constructed in the early 20th century. In the late 1800s, the valley was settled by Italians, who began growing grapes and making wine just like they had in their homeland. After the Italian immigrants started building a chapel, a drought struck. While water was scarce, they had a surplus of wine. They mixed the wine with clay and wheat straw, and created an alloy to hold the bricks together.
The construction was an effort of the 20 families who lived in the town at the time, and every member, from the youngest to the oldest, pitched in to complete the chapel by 1907. The chapel’s appearance is also reminiscent of wine, from the exterior paint accents (a wine-red) to the altar made of wine barrels. Services are no longer held and the chapel is now undergoing restoration, but you can still visit.
Know Before You Go
This chapel is located in Bento Gonçalves on the wine trail, so there are several wineries in the vicinity as well. Be sure to take in the rolling green hillsides and lush landscape.
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