The basics for any place that wants to be known as a wine destination is, for sure, producing high quality wines. But is that all there is to it? Not even close.
Wine tourism is an ever-growing travel trend and its concept has been widened and developed over the years. If in the past it all came down to visiting a winery and tasting its wines, today it means much more than that.
Visitors may choose their destination driven by the desire of visiting a particular wine producing region or winery(ies), or end up visiting it while travelling for other reasons. Either way, they surely long for a unique and memorable experience.
Passionate wine tourists yearn to better understand the background and complexity of the wines they’re tasting. They are keen to discovering the terroir, learning the history both of the wine estates and the wine making process, contacting with the people involved in it, savouring the local culture and gastronomy, thus absorbing the “modus vivendi” of the place.
On the other hand, the ‘exciting and new’ can not be disregarded. Wine tourists are becoming more demanding, especially the experienced ones or the youngest generations, and expect innovative and diverse activities, without overlooking the authenticity of the experience.
Finally, given the health issues the entire globe is facing right now, safety has become one of tourists’ main concerns. Actually, in this context, people are privileging the rural and the undiscovered, as well as safe and sustainable tourism.
Therefore, wine destinations that gather all of those ingredients will meet and even surpass all its visitors requirements and expectations.
And Porto, a great wine destination of the world, is made of all of that!
The city itself exhales wine history and tradition, not only for its connection to Port Wine (to which it lends its name!), but for countless other existing landmarks related to wine production, regulation and commercialization, reflected in the city until today.
Just by crossing the Douro river, tourists can visit the Port Wine cellars (belonging to some of the most important producers of this nectar of the Gods), and immerse in its history and culture, leaded by well trained and experienced guides, but being also able to explore it at their own pace, through interactive activities. And, of course, the cherry on top, the visit finishes with a sublime wine tasting.
Right next to them there’s the recently inaugurated World Of Wine (WOW), built on centuries old cellars, gathering six museum experiences, restaurants and bars, shops, a gallery, event spaces and a wine school.
Visitors will surely be inspired to set off to Douro to personally see where it all begins.
In fact, Porto is an excellent starting point to explore not only Douro but Vinho Verde region as well, the two outstanding wine producing regions closely linked to the city and just a short trip away, which offer completely different profiles of wine.
The world’s first demarcated region, where the famed Port Wine is produced, as well as high quality Douro DOC wines, some made from centuries old vines.
The Douro Valley offers much more than wine, being one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world, with its singular breathtaking landscapes, surprising at every turn, that invite visitors to stop and contemplate this “excess of nature” (as described by Miguel Torga, a famous portuguese writer), preferably holding a glass of wine.
It’s also among the valleys of the Douro River, the most prestigious and recognized wine estates are located.
Vinhos Verdes region
It´s the largest portuguese wine region, located in the northwest of Portugal being influenced by the Atlantic Coast.
It’s wines are very distinctive and caractherized by being fresh and bubbly, elegant, light and very aromatic. Vinhos Verdes (Green wines) are actually named so due to it’s youthfulness and also because of the tones of green prevailing in the region given the abundant vegetation.
Over the years these very traditional and wine production focused regions have gradually opened its doors to tourism, and wine producers have been investing in their wine tourism services, offering well equiped facilities and an ever-widening range of activities, aiming to enhance vistors’ experience.
The options are endless, and there is something for everyone. From museums to wine courses; from Michelin-starred restaurants to picnics in the vineyards; from wine painting to wine therapy spas; from guided tours to walking or biking throug the vineyards.
Most wineries give guests the opportunity to really participate in the wine making process, from one end to the other, such as: harvesting, treading the grapes, playing the role of a winemaker for one day, and of course sampling the wines and other local products.
Many of them also offer accommodation on site, so visitors can enjoy sleeping surrounded by the vineyards, wether in a 5 star hotel, in the family house, or even, imagine, in a wine barrel.
However, it’s fascinating to see that the essence hasn’t been lost!
No matter if it’s a family-runned business or a company managed one, the history of the property and the wines, which many times is the history of several family generations, is shared with such emotion and pride, that visitors feel invariably involved by it.
It’s no wonder that many of the wine estates in these wine regions have been recognized for its excellence, not only in regards to its world-class wines, but also for their wine tourism offers.
As an inspiration to your next trip, take a look at Porto’s Best Of Wine Tourism awards winners.