Wine and Enoturism
Douro is an internationally recognised wine-producing region. Its wine has unique characteristics and there is no equal to it in its colour, flavour and taste. In addition to tasting the renowned Port Wine, visitors can take part in the wine production process and participate in the grape harvest, which seems more like a celebration than work.
Glass of wine | © Museu do DouroVineyards | © Museu do DouroRabelo boats loaded with barrels | © Cida GarciaBunch of grapes | © Museu do DouroCaves Offley | © Melanie AntunesJug of wine | © Turismo do DouroVine leaves | © Museu do DouroPort Wine Ruby and Port Wine White | © Melanie AntunesMachine to crush the grapes | © Museu do DouroCaves Offley | © Melanie AntunesRabelo boats at Oporto | © Museu do DouroMachine that was used to bottle the wine | © Melanie AntunesBunch of grapes | © Museu do DouroPort Wine Ruby | © Melanie AntunesHulls with large quantities of wine stored | © Melanie AntunesVineyards | © Museu do DouroWine stored | © Melanie AntunesBunch of grapes on a rock | © Museu do DouroMachine to put corks in bottles | © Melanie AntunesRabelo Boat | © Museu do DouroStored Tawny | © Melanie AntunesHarvest | © Museu do Douro
"After the Corgo comes the Upper Douro: a schistic ground shattered by the air, by the heat, by the deadly work of the gnarled teeth of the pitchfork of the slave digger that sun after sun, under the scorching heat, bent doubled over the pickaxe with blistering skin glistening with sweat, cuts it, smashes it, pulverises it, making stone into earth."
in Recordações e Viagens, by Antero de Figueiredo (unofficial translation)
On the slopes of the Douro Valley, sheltered from the humid winds by the Marão and Montemuro mountains, these world famous wines were born. With its smooth delicate flavour, Port Wine is fortified with Aguardente Vínica (alcohol distilled from wine) and it delights the taste buds of all those who visit the region. However, it is not the only attraction, the Douro table wines have also grown in popularity over the last few years. The hot dry summers, harsh winters and the schistic and granite soils that force the roots to reach great depths all play a role in producing excellent quality grapes.
The Douro Demarcated Region was established in the reign of D. Jose I (1714-1777), by his Prime Minister and future Duke of Pombal, Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo (1699-1782), by the Act of 1756, when he also established the General Company of Agriculture of the Wines of the Upper Douro was established, and in the years that followed, this institution defined the borders and the regulations for the wine-producing region, known as the Feitoria. The Douro Valley can thus be considered the first demarcated region in the world with such control and rigor. The borders of the region were extended over the years, but its character never strayed from its true roots.
Considering the importance of the Alto Douro Wine Region, in 2001 UNESC recognized this site as World Heritage, with the following justifications: "The Alto Douro Region has been producing wine for nearly two thousand years and its landscape has been moulded by human activities. The components of the Alto Douro landscape are representative of the full range of activities association with winemaking – terraces, quintas (wine-producing farm complexes), villages, chapels, and roads. The cultural landscape of the Alto Douro is an outstanding example of a traditional European wine-producing region, reflecting the evolution of this human activity over time."
Enotourism is very important to the Douro Valley and it offers a wide range of options for wine lovers. The majority of the vineyards in the valley are open to the public, and visitors can taste this world famous wine. Many of the vineyards are also open as hotels and have received international recognition in the form of awards for their high quality.
The number of tourists visiting the region and taking part in the harvest and the traditional process of squashing the grapes grows each year. After the harvest, the visitors can stay at the vineyard or in nearby accommodation and can try flavourful dishes accompanied with the region’s best wines.
Before departing for the Douro region, you can visit the Port Wine Cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia and other wine bars in the historic centre of the city of Porto to taste the wines. Before heading home from either the wine cellars or the various vineyards and wineries you can purchase or order many different types of Porto and Douro wine.