A visit to Porto would not be complete without taking a tour of the Port Caves of Vila Nova De Gaia, located just across the Rio Douro from Porto’s Ribeira.
Port (known as Vinho do Porto) is a fortified wine grown from the grapes of the Douro Valley region. The Portuguese will say that Port is much more than wine. The production of Port has spawned a cultural heritage of work and experience that has been built and passed on from generation to generation. Port is one of Portugal´s greatest ambassadors.
While there is evidence to suggest that Port was produced as far back as the 3rd and 4th centuries, Port came into its own in the 17th century when Portugal began to trade Port with the merchants from England in return for codfish.
Legend has it that British merchants were visiting a monastery in the town of Lamego on the Douro River in 1678 when they encountered an abbot who was making a fortified wine in a way entirely new to them.
The grapes used to make Port are grown in the Douro Valley, one of the most ancient wine-growing regions in the country as well as an area of natural beauty, Many tourists take a day trip through Douro Valley or a cruise along the Rio Douro to take in this speculator area.
During the 17th century, when the demand for Port increased, merchants were already ageing and storing Douro valley wines in vast warehouses or lodges along the banks of the Douro in Porto. As Porto is very close to the Atlantic Ocean, Port was shipped out of Portugal by the barrel to England.
In modern times, the lodges are located on banks of the Rio Douro in Vila Nova de Gaia. You can take a tour of one of the many lodges of the Port producers such as Calem, Offley, or Taylor’s. Just head across the Ponte Dom Luis Bridge or hop on the wooden river taxi that crosses the river from Cais de Ribeira and take your pick.
You will find many opportunities to experience a tasting session of Port in Porto. Many restaurants and shops who specialise in the sale of Port offer a tasting menu for you to sample a sip of Portuguese history.
If you visit Porto on the Portuguese Camino de Santiago, we hope you enjoy a tipple or two of the vinho this country is known for.
If you plan to walk the Camino de Santiago, check out my book, A Wild Woman’s Guide To The Camino de Santiago. I share everything you need to know before you begin your Camino. Read at A Wild Woman’s Guide To The Camino De Santiago or click the link below.
(c) Samantha Wilson 2019. All Rights Reserved.