Wine Tourism in Porto
One of the rivers with a riverbank where a greater number of wines are produced is, without doubt, the Duero; apart from its well-known designation of origin, Ribera de Duero in Spain, this river generates its own designation of origin in Portugal and is the heart of one of the most famous types of wine in our neighboring country: the Oporto or Port wine.
The area of Porto
Despite its designation, the vineyards that give name to the Oporto wine are not located in this port city, but about one-hundred kilometers east of Porto almost leading to the Spanish border, along the Duero (Douro) riverbank.
The Port wine production concentrates within an area of 80 kilometers in length that is dominated by a mainly dry climate.
Wines and grapes in Porto
The Port wine was born in the sixteenth century with the addition of liquor in wine under fermentation, a technique that allowed the wine to withstand a long navigation time until reaching its main market: England.
Today we could distinguish the following main varieties.
These are red wines, generally young, that after grape fermentation are stored in large tanks, made of cement or stainless steel to prevent oxidation and preserve its original color.
One type of Ruby Port is the Vintage variety, considered by many as the jewel of the crown among these types of wines.
These are wines that come from a vintage declared “exceptional” by its tasters from the Port Wine Institute of Porto.
These are Port wines that, unlike the previous ones, have been ageing in barrels for a period of time of no less than two years and that can reach up to 20 years, so they evolve to a more golden color, losing the red characteristic of the previous ones and acquiring aromas such as nuts and fruits or walnuts. They are also less sweet than the Ports of the Ruby variety.
All of them are produced with a mix of grape varieties such as Tinta Roriz, Tinta Borroca, Touriga and Tinta Cāo.
There are also Porto Blancos (white Ports), made from Malvasia Dourada, Malvasia Fina, Gouveio and Rabigato grapes, fermented in enormous oak barrels.
Some wine tourism activities in Porto
Portugal in general and particularly the Portuguese Duero area is increasing exponentially its relevance as a global wine tourism destination.
That way, the wine tourist can dive into the most traditional Portugal visiting the town of Pinhâo or the Douro Museum in Peso Régua, where fabulous Dutch influenced tiles can be contemplated.
Another activity that shouldn´t be missed for travelers interested in wine tourism in Porto is a visit to the wine cellars; the coastal area of Vila Nova de Gaia is where the wines that come from the vineyards that give its name to Port wine, many of them hundreds of years old, are aged. There is also the option of staying overnight in wine cellars converted into hotels where the wine tourist can relax and taste the most renowned dishes of Portuguese cuisine.
Also, in a country with a maritime influence as marked as Portugal, there are unlimited types of boat excursions whether on the Duero river or on the Atlantic coast.
Lastly, a visit to the city of Porto itself is a must that we should include in any tour of the area.