Wine & Travel Week
Viavinum was pleased to participate in the first edition of the Wine & Travel Week of Portugal, a wine tourism trade fair held with great success at the end of February in the city of Oporto. The international event was attended by leading tourism, wine, viticulture, and gastronomy professionals, as well as specialized journalists, businessmen and authorities.
The occasion allowed us to attend conferences, hold work meetings and visit some of the main sites of interest and hospitality in the region, in order to establish contacts, keep us updated and learn more about the best services and trends in the area of wine tourism.
City of Oporto
Oporto, the second largest city in Portugal, is famous for its beautiful views of the Douro River, its historic center, its wineries, and its exquisite gastronomy. A tour of its picturesque narrow streets with tiled facades around the Sé, the Cathedral, and the Praça da Liberdade is not to be missed. When visiting the historic center, declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996, be sure to enter the Lello bookstore, a treasure of Porto’s cultural heritage. This welcoming city is home to one of the most famous wines in the world: Port wine, one of the first Appellations of Origin.
Origin of Port Wine
The fundamental difference between Port wine and other wines is the eau-de-vie that is added to interrupt fermentation. This preserves the original sweetness of the grapes with a high level of alcohol. This idea arose in the 17th century, when English merchants, interested in buying Portuguese wines, found that these wines could not withstand long ship voyages, so they began to fortify them with brandy so that they would not spoil.
Main Port Wine Cellars
The main cellars where Port wines are stored and aged are located in Vila Nova de Gaia, just across the Douro River, connected to Porto by six bridges. The rabelos, the barges that formerly transported the must collected from the inland estates to the cellars of Vila Nova, still dock there. Among these wineries today are Sandeman, Graham’s and Taylor’s, among others.
Each cellar has its own history and style of winemaking and most organize tours in different languages. For example, Taylor’s, one of the oldest and most prestigious wineries in Oporto, offers guided tours with wine tasting. It has a wonderful restaurant called Barao Fladgate with beautiful views of the city of Oporto and the Douro River from its terrace.
Douro Valley Region
There is no better way to discover the Portuguese wine richness than with a visit to the Douro Valley, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the oldest, most famous, and picturesque wine regions in the world, with steep terraces of vineyards with changing colors depending on the season. The Douro region is one of the few wine-producing areas in the world where heroic-mountain viticulture is practiced.
The region is divided into three sub-regions: Baixo Corgo, Cima Corgo (which has the most beautiful landscapes and villages) and Douro Superior. You can visit it by car, train, or boat. Its magnificent river landscapes can be admired on a half-day boat tour and even on a luxurious week-long cruise.
Douro Valley grape varieties
In this “enchanted valley”, as it is known, grapes are grown to produce the famous Port wine, but also to produce the young and tranquil Douro wine. Among the red varieties, we can mention Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), Touriga Franca and Tinta Barroca, Bastardo, Mourisco Tinto, Tinta Amarela and Tinta Cão. Among the whites are Donzelinho Branco, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Rabigato and Viosinho.
Throughout the valley there is an interesting offer of activities: visits to its fantastic vineyards and wineries, cruises in rabelo, visits to charming villages with long history and tradition, wine tastings, museums, accommodation in quintas and boutique hotels, restaurants with delicious regional food and even the possibility of participating in the grape harvest.
Wine tourism in Oporto and the Douro Valley
From Viavinum, we can help you organize an enotourism trip to this amazing region. Whether you are an initiate to wine or a wine connoisseur, do not hesitate to contact us.