A 20-minute walk from the center of Bananal  will bring you to the Chácara Santa Inêz (Av. João Barbosa de Camargo 1494, tel. 12/3116-1591, www.cachacaminuca.com.br ), where Engels Maciel, a German chemist, distills some of the most ambrosial cachaça in the country.
Cachaça has a long history in the region; before turning to coffee, 18th-century planters cultivated sugar. Its precious by-product, cachaça, was not only tippled by the aristocracy of the day, but was also used to barter for the slaves needed to work the plantations. Using a completely organic process and barrels (for aging) made with precious Brazilian woods, cachaça de Minuca (named for Engels’s wife) has won numerous awards.
Aside from touring the alembic and sampling the wares, you can also purchase homemade organic vinegars, jams, and jellies made by Minuca from fruits planted on the property.