Head to Porto, and the Douro Valley for the ultimate wine tasting experience. With excellent tours, warm people, and good weather 340 days a year, Portugal is the perfect destination to try fine wines, and immerse yourself in the rich history, and culture of the wine regions.
For travellers seeking a private luxury tour, there are several options available in Portugal. Most wineries and restaurants offer the option of exclusive tours and tastings, along with several other wine-related activities. We’ve collated a list of places to visit while enjoying a holiday in Portugal, and highlighted reasons why wine tourism in Portugal is truly world class. Although it’s possible to experience tours in Lisbon, and the Algarve, Porto and the Douro region are second to none.
If you’re thinking about travelling to Portugal, book an exclusive tour in Porto and Douro Valley with our partners Wine Tourism in Portugal to enhance your luxury travel experience.
Portugal Has a Long History of Winemaking
Portugal has a long illustrious history of winemaking. They have been made in Portugal since at least 2000 BC. By the 12th century, Portuguese wines started to be shipped to England from the Northern Entre Douro e Minho region. But it wasn’t until the 18th century that Portuguese wines came to be associated with Port and to some extent Madeira. This history makes Portugal incredibly unique and attractive for wine lovers.
Most of the Portuguese Quintas (manor houses and vineyards) and wine related places have preserved the real feel of a family run business over time, as the Northern region becomes even more popular, it’s always recommended that you book your tour well in advance.
On a small group tour or private tour, you will be afforded the opportunity to ask as many questions as you can think of about Portugal and its history. Unlike a regular wine tour in a large group, on a private tour, you’ll have privileged one to one access to the tour guides who will answer your specific questions and share detailed information. This makes a Wine Tourism in Portugal tour particularly attractive, as these tours are a fantastic way to learn more about wine, vineyards, and wine-related topics.
Some private wine tours are available on their own as a standalone experience or they can be included as part of a luxury tour spanning several days.
Get To Know Portugal By Its Wines – Porto and Port Wine
Port is a fortified wine. One of the most important qualities of true Port is the unique blend of Portuguese indigenous grapes used to create each bottle and the delicious flavours in every sip. Common flavours include raspberry, blackberry, caramel, cinnamon, and chocolate. However, every variety of Port is unique. If you’re visiting Porto, head to the city’s long-established port-wine cellars and take your pick between Graham’s Port Lodge and Taylor’s, to name a few. Here you’ll learn everything that there is to know about Port!
If you visit Graham’s Port Lodge you will undoubtedly be impressed by the spectacular views of Porto’s historic city centre, as well as the excellent Port wine. This magnificent lodge is situated in an exclusive location on a commanding ridge across the Douro River from Porto. Whilst small group tours are available, for a more personal, in-depth experience, go with one of their private tours – specially crafted for wine lovers looking for a more intimate experience.
Whilst Taylor’s, on the other hand, is one of the oldest of the founding port houses. Here, visitors can take a masterclass. Led by in-house professionals you’ll learn about vintage or tawny port, receive a private tour of the famous lodges including a visit to the staggering cellar, piled to the ceiling with huge barrels, followed by a tasting.
Discover a UNESCO World Heritage Site – The Douro Valley, Wines and Tastings
The Douro region has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001 This is in recognition of the region’s contribution to wine, throughout history since the 18th century. If you’re in the northern part of Portugal for more than a couple of days, don’t miss out on the chance to head further inland to the Douro Valley. Not only is the Valley famous for producing extraordinary port, but the region’s table wines have also been generating excitement in the world of wine too!
Near the picturesque town of Pinhão, you’ll find the region’s signature estates, and you can take a VIP Vineyard Tour enjoying a memorable wine tasting, and speak with an in-house agricultural engineer about some of the world’s spectacular wines.
World renowned for its beauty, the Douro river forms the backbone of the valley named after it. On the bordering slopes, vineyard terraces and rows were artfully carved into the land like steps, spotted here and there by century-old manors. One of the most popular small group activities is the Day in the Harvest experience – available for groups of 8 or more. This takes place in Quinta Nova which is located in Covas do Douro, Sabrosa, in the Douro region. On this particular excursion, you’ll be able to try your hand at grape harvesting, discover the secrets of the wines and fully immerse yourself in the culture of the region. You will be taken through the whole process of making your own wine, from blending to bottling and corking. At the end of the day, you’ll get to take your own bottle of wine back with you.
Cruise Along the Douro Valley – For a Laidback Luxury Experience
No visit to the Douro Valley would be complete without a river cruise. Cruising in the Douro Valley is an amazing opportunity to enjoy the diversity of culture and landscapes along the Douro banks. Departing from Pinhão or Régua, these are luxury river cruises, entirely private, which draw inspiration from the character and old-fashioned charm of classic gentleman’s yachts and sailing boats. Some programmes include a visit to a nearby winery followed by a tasting session, or even lunch or dinner on board catered by a Michelin-awarded chef.