Yesterday I went on a Douro Valley wine tour from Porto. It’s something that I didn’t have time to do last time I was in Porto. I did visit one or two of the Port houses in Porto (on the other side of the river in Gaia), and I wanted to see and learn about the wine production from the source – the Douro valley. And, of course drink more of it!
Tips for your Douro Valley Wine Tour
That brings me to my tips for your Douro Valley wine tour – you will be drinking A LOT so please don’t skip breakfast! Also pack yourself a bottle of water as it can get extremely hot in the Douro Valley in the summer months, right through to the end of October. If you burn easily, use sun cream and take maybe a sun hat or sun umbrella.
Checklist – what to take:
- Bottled water
- Snacks (if required)
- Sun Umbrella
- Money – for snacks and souvenirs
Where to book your Tour
I booked my wine tour of the Douro valley through Get Your Guide and the cost was €90. I felt it was a lot for one day – but after the experience I thought it was excellent value, because I realised how much amazing wine and food you get!
You can also book through Viator travel and through local companies. It may be possible that your hotel has recommendations.
Full-Day Douro Wine Tour with Lunch and River Cruise
the Full-Day Douro Wine Tour with Lunch and River Cruise with Get Your Guide which included pick up and drop off at my Porto hotel. On our Duoro Valley wine your we visited two wineries, had a three course lunch (with more wine!) and also a boat cruise. It was a fantastic trip and one that I would highly recommend. It’s an easy and relaxing trip without much walking. The whole day was approximately 10 hours.
We started at 8.30am and took around an hour and a half to get to the Duoro Valley. We had a coffee stop at Peso da Régua around 9.30am and travelled towards Pinhão for the first winery about 10.30am.
***BE PREPARED TO START DRINKING AT AROUND 11AM ON THIS TRIP!***
First Winery – Quenta Roeda (Croft)
The first Winery was a Croft winery – one of the most famous Port estates which was planted in 1811. We had a tour of the vinyards and were able to look for grapes and learn about how the space between the vinyards, and aspect all have an impact on the grapes and therefore the wine. This winery has an area of 109 hectares and a combination of both modern and old vinyards.
The vinyards are not irrigated and the plants are not watered – the idea is that the roots have to struggle and suffer growing deeper into the schist soil to produce the sweetest grapes. The wines were transported down the river to Porto’s Port cellars in Gaia because the temperature was cooler there and it was better to store them.
We tasted three Croft Ports at this Winery – a Rose, Ruby and Tawny. The Ports were served with almonds and fig jam (to compliment the sweet Rose port) and cheese (to compliment the Tawny and Ruby). The Rose Port was my favourite – sweet and light.
Pinhão Boat Cruise
Next on the agenda was a beautiful river boat trip from Pinhão. The river boat cruise is beautiful because it gives you a great perspective of both sides of the valley.
Lunch in Sabrosa at Casa Dos Barros
We continued slightly North to the village of Sabrosa, a short drive to the north of Pinhão. Sabrosa was the birthplace of Fernão de Magalhães (Ferdinand Magellan), who was was the first to circumnavigate the globe between 1519 and 1522.
Our three course meal (plus wine of course!) was at Casa dos Barros in Sabrosa – a winery hotel and restaurant with friendly waiters and stunning views over the vinyards. Our salad starter came with bread to dip into the regional olive oil. Mains was a choice of grilled sea bass or pork cooked in a port wine sauce – the pork in port sauce was amazing. We were served with a glass of white and red wine. Dessert was a chocolate cheesecake followed by a glass of Port.
Second Winery – Quinta dos Casteleres
At the second winery – Quinta dos Casteleres we learnt more about the history of wines and how most wineries contain the family crest on the building. We learnt about the barrels and how they have to send in a cooper to clean the barrels. They can use different woods for the barrels and adjust the oak barrels to impact on the taste of the wine.
At Quinta do Casteleres we got to try:
- 3 different wines – a white, red and rose
- Bread dipped in regional Olive oil – this was sugared to enhance the taste
- 3 honeys – Including a Rosemary and chestnut honey
- 2 Ports – The Dalva Moscatel was amazing!
As you can imagine, by this time we were feeling substantially tipsy! It was certainly time top head home. We were dropped off at our hotels again around 7pm. Most people will sleep on the journey home after all the food and alcohol!
Other Trip Recommendations from Porto
If you enjoyed this tour and are looking for more, I highly recommend the wine cellar tours of Gaia and also the 6 bridges Port river cruise.
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