Oporto Wine, Porto
In October 2005, Mr David Spriggs from California, USA, did a Port Wine Tour in Portugal. This Tip features just a little part of his report.
GREATEST Port trip ever!
[...] Day 1:
[...] We then had a very special tour of the IVDP (Douro and Port Wines Institute - formerly the IVP). In general, the public is not allowed inside the IVDP, much less given a tour. I came away with the realization that Port is the most regulated wine that I know of. Gas chromatography testing, blind taste testing, declaration filing laws, so much intense lab work! Burgundy is highly regulated, but I don’t believe that they are as detail oriented as the IVDP. It was quite impressive. [...]
Click here for the complete David Spriggs' Port Wine Tour report.
For future Port Wine Tours please visit
For The Love Of Port - www.fortheloveofport.com
The city of Porto (Oporto) is the World Capital for Port Wine.
Therefore, any visitor should not miss the opportunity to enjoy a glass of a fine Port.
Suggestion: visit the Port Wine Lodges located in Vila Nova de Gaia, right in the south bank of the Douro river. Vila Nova de Gaia is walking distance from downtown Porto (Oporto). To get there from Porto, any visitor just need to cross the Dom Luiz I bridge.
Pictured on this tip, the American journalist Roy Hersh of For The Love Of Port is happily holding a "baby", a VERY BIG Taylor Fladgate LBV bottle of Port Wine.
It's really worth to cross the river and take a seat (after having some porto free tasting wines) in the shore of Vila Nova de Gaia to have a good view of Porto city...
You can go to any of the important warehouses (Sandman, Calem,....) just decide if you have around 30 minuts to have a guided visit or not.
Vila Nova de Gaia is THE place where the famous Port wine is made.
Enter any of the several cellars to learn more about the process for creating port wine and experience the wine tasting after the visit. Visits can be free .. or not. I went to Croft and was welcome with a free glass of port wine. Then i had a free visit of the cellar and finally another free glass of wine !
Note that standard port wine bottles are less expensive in the supermaket than in the cellars ! If you buy wine in the cellar, make sure it is a very special bottle such as a vintage wine or a bottle of your year of birth (if you're a collector as it could be very expensive)
We went to three different port wine caves. Yep, call us drunk if you want, because we certainly were after all the free samples. Port wine, for those of you who are not familiar, is much stronger than your conventional wine. A few sips of port will leave you feeling woozy.
Aside from being unable to understand my tour given in Italian, I highly recommend Graham's. It is further away than all the other caves, but they provide free tours and samples. There is a free shuttle from the waterfront in Gaia, but we walked here. It didn't take more than 20 minutes. I would recommend the shuttle however because the street leading to Graham's is very steep and winds treacherously. Every time a car passes, I was afraid that it would hit be because you can't see beyond the curves.
You'll be given samples of tawny, white, and red varieties of port wine. I prefer the less popular white because it is a dry wine, unlike the super-sweet reds and tawnies.
End your trip to Porto with the city's truly "must-do" activity -- visiting the Port Wine lodges across the river to learn about the history and the production process of the wine, and of course, taste it. The tourist office on the waterfront provides a map and a list of lodges, but one of the most popular is Sandeman that includes a museum and a slide show.
Visit the Port lodges and have a free tasting.
Sandeman Lodge. A good tour gives you an excellent feel for the place.
Opening times 9.30am to 12.30pm, 2.00pm to 5.00pm (Closed weekends October to April).
I think it's a pretty fair deal: You pay 2 euros for the visit; they reward you with a couple of glasses of fine Port wine. Repeat this process until you're tipsy enough ;-) The only con is that you’ll have to suffer an incredibly boring explanation about the boring history of the wine brand you're visiting. But again, my personal opinion is that the deal is fair :-p
Of course every visitor to Porto should take the opportunity to try the local beverage, and to learn how it is made.
There are several port shippers who offer tours, tastings etc, and the adventurous visit more than one!
Portugal produces a wide variety of wines, from the fresh Vinho Verde to the classical Port wine.
Port wine - Vinho do Porto - takes its name from the city from where it was originally exported. Although port-style wines are made in many regions of the world, Port or Porto refers only to wines produced in Portugal.
Cross the bridge over the Douro and go taste some Port. There are many brands and the best to start with is in my opinion Sandeman. They give you a very interesting excursion and a nice tasting afterwards without the push to buy something. Although you probably will, because it tastes so good!
Visit the Port Wine Lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia, on the south bank of the Douro.
From the Ponte Dom Luis II you will see the roof tops signs of all the different port lodges. These places are really glorified warehouses, though some production takes place. However, most offer tours and free tasting at the end. I visited Calem Lodge. Not being a port fan I didn't know what to expect. However, I had a really informative guide all to myself and at the end got to try some beautiful ports. Of course there are shops and despite my lack of shopping drive I would recommend a box of mini-ports as a great gift to bring home. My Calem is waiting for a special occasion in the pantry!
Visit the port wine houses at Vila Nova da Gaia, of course, and have a tour & tasting there. Also visit the Igreja de Sao Francisco (baroque).
BTW: don't go to Sandeman, but visit Taylor's instead for example. The best port wine in my view is Vasconcellos - they can be visited in Vila Nova da Gaia as well.
There is quite a selection of Port Lodges to visit including Calem, Taylors, Barros, Cockburns about 14 or 15 i think, we visited the Sandemans wine cellar, the visit last's about an hour and of course you get to sample the port wine, red and white, i'd never had white port before and it come's with quite a kick.
PORT! You have to do a tour of the Port factories - the tours are very cheesy and to be honest if you could skip that bit out I would but the info in the displays is interesting - I wish I had had time to visit the vinyards in the North of Portugal, they looked beautiful.