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Brad Ring WineMaker Magazine

 

Brad Ring, Publisher of WineMaker Magazine, personally invites you to join him on this exclusive wine vacation.

This trip is the ideal vacation for food-loving home winemakers! We explore some of Portugal’s top wine regions while savoring every morsel of their delicious cuisine.

From the sun-kissed plains of the Alentejo wine region to the terraced hillsides of the Douro to beautiful historic city centers, what’s not to love about Portugal? We meander through one of Europe’s oldest nations, exploring and learning about many of its Denominação de Origem Controlada (or DOCs). Throughout our trip, we’ll explore the wide variety of wines that are unique to this wonderful country, including Vinho Verdes, Ports, Alvarinhos, and more.

This comprehensive Portugal vacation will have you visiting remarkable wineries (and port wine lodges) with in-depth wine tastings geared towards our group of at-home winemakers, gathering ingredients in the market for our private cooking class focused on traditional Portuguese cuisine, delighting in wine-paired meals and hillside picnics, relaxing on a Rabelo boat ride down the Douro River, exploring several historic cities and towns, and basking in luxurious hotels each night. Join us for an immersion in a rich wine, culinary, and historical experience in Portugal!

Hand-Picked Experiences

  • Tour and taste a wide variety of Portuguese wineries – from the well-known to the boutique, family-owned!
  • Enjoy wine-paired lunches and picnics at several outstanding wineries
  • Take a private cooking class to learn all about traditional Portuguese cuisine
  • Visit several UNESCO sites and historic places

Portugal Wine & Food Tour Details

    • Tour Dates: June 24 – 30, 2023
    • Trip Price Per Person: $4,400
    • Single Supplement: $900
    • Flight from Porto to Lisbon (estimated to be $200) is additional. We will purchase this for you and include this cost on your invoice.
    • Guide: Francisco Franco Afonso
    • Meals: All meals except one dinner and one lunch
    • General Tour FAQs
Portugal Wine Vineyard

Tour Itinerary

DAY 1: 

Portugal

We meet you in the early afternoon at the Porto airport and whisk you away for your first tasting at Quinta da Aveleda in the southernmost tip of the Vinho Verde DOC, Portugal’s largest wine region, in the cool verdant and rainy northwestern portion of the country. Aveleda is one of the largest producers of Portugal’s signature Vinho Verde, a light, bubbly, and crisp white wine. The name Vinho Verde translates as “young wine,” being released three to six months after the grapes are harvested and usually consumed shortly thereafter. As we continue on our way to the beautiful city of Pinhão, we’ll stop by another impressive winery, Casa de Cello, for a tasting and to learn about their unique terrior before checking into our hotel for the next two nights.

The Vintage House Hotel sits directly on a lovely bend on the Douro River and is encircled by terraced hillsides that produce some of the world’s best port.  It’s such a lovely setting that we’ll be enjoying dinner at our hotel’s wonderful restaurant.

DAY 2:

Rabelo Boat Portugal

After breakfast, we will start our day by enjoying a tasting at the oldest wine seller in Portugal, Quinta das Carvalhas  Their beautiful vineyard is a great example of sustainable agriculture in the Douro valley, using the best viticulture and biodiversity practices. Once we have enjoyed a walk through their vines and a tasting of their wines, we will depart for a tasting and vineyard picnic with wine at Quinta Seixo just across the river from our hotel. As you might guess, the views will be tremendous!

We will return to the hotel’s dock in time for a two-hour afternoon boat cruise up the Douro River on a Rabelo boat. The Rabelo is the traditional boat of the Douro Valley and looks like a cross between a Viking boat and a gondola from Venice. They were used to transport cargo, such as port wine barrels, down the Douro river from the valley to the Atlantic Ocean.  The section of the Douro north from Pinhão toward Pocinho offers stunning views of the steeply terraced hillside vineyards.

Once back on solid ground, we’ll enjoy a delicious locally-sourced dinner at a riverside restaurant before turning in for the night.

DAY 3:

Ferreira Cellars Portugal

After breakfast, we’ll check out of the hotel and depart for the fabulous city of Porto.

Porto prides itself on the beautiful Ribeira district, a row of colorful buildings staring at their reflections in the river below. There are five bridges connecting Porto to the city across the river, Vila Nova de Gaia, and at night the Ribeira district is filled with glittering lights illuminating the river, bridges, and buildings of both cities. The narrow, cobbled streets of Ribeira are dotted with small bars and eateries serving classic Portuguese fare like grilled sardines and octopus.

First, we’ll stop for a vertical tasting at Cockburn’s Port Lodge, the largest port cellar in the historic quarter of Vila Nova de Gaia, with 6,518 casks of Port maturing under its giant roofs, and one of the very few with its own dedicated team of coopers. We’ll then depart to  enjoy lunch at the restaurant of what is perhaps the most famous of Portugal’s port wine lodges, Graham’s, followed by a visit and tasting to another well-known port lodge, Ferreira Cellars.

We’ll check into our classic hotel along the river promenade and enjoy a lovely walk to another great meal.

DAY 4:

Pasteis de natal Portugal Food and Wine

After breakfast, we will check out of our hotel and wander the food market to explore the local flavors and pick out the ingredients for our private cooking class.  We’ll don our aprons and learn to make an egg dish with a traditional Portuguese sausage called alheira, Bacalhau à Lagareiro (cod prepared the local way) and the most delicious pastries you’ve (probably) ever had: Pasteis de Nata! The famous Portuguese egg-custard tarts are a sweet circle of chewy goodness and were first made by Catholic monks. They have influenced pastries all over the world, including the egg tarts found in Hong Kong and mainland China. And just to make things a bit more fun, we might drink a little wine while we cook!

This afternoon, we take an hour-long flight south to the capital city of Lisbon. From there, we have a private transfer to the town of Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage city.  Evora is one of Portugal’s most charming and most beautifully preserved medieval towns, complete with 14th-century walls around its center, and narrow, winding cobblestone streets.  This small city has the second largest number of national monuments of Portugal, second only to Lisbon, and sits upon a hill above the fertile Alentejo plain.

We’ll check into our hotel for the next three nights and walk to dinner at a nearby charming local restaurant.

DAY 5:

Herdade Esporao Portugal

This morning we will explore another important part of the winemaking process – the cork! We’ll head to a cork forest farm for a tour to learn all about how cork is grown, harvested, and shaped.

After, we’ll depart for the renowned Herdade do Esporao for a fantastic “Five Moments” paired wine lunch, which will last the better part of the afternoon at their beautiful estate surrounded by vineyards. This will include a lovely tasting of their remarkable olive oils.

We’ll then make our way to Conde D’Ervideira for a special single-grape tasting before heading back to Evora. Since the lunch is quite substantial, it’s possible you may be satisfied enough that you won’t want a large dinner.  For this reason, we’ve left the evening open for you to enjoy in Evora as you wish.

DAY 6:

Fitapret Winery Portugal

This morning you can opt for a historical walk of Evora with a visit to the Chapel of Bones, led by your guide. We’ll then reconvene to head out for our first tour and tasting of the day at Monte da Ravasqueira. Ravasqueira is known for their incessant pursuit of identifying micro terroirs within their vineyards that help them create their unique wines.

We’ll then set you loose to explore the village of Arraiolos, known for its circular castle and fabulous rug makers. You’ll have time to get lunch on your own before we depart for our next winery stop at another historic winery, Fitapreta, where we’ll taste their delicious wines along with some local cheeses and meats.

We have one more winery stop for the day to the incredible wines of Pêra-Grave at Quinta de São José de Peramanca. After, we’ll walk to dinner at a wonderful, tiny farm-to-table restaurant for our farewell meal that features unbelievable food and wine — and a gregarious host, Jorge!

DAY 7:

José Maria da Fonseca

After breakfast, we’ll check out of our hotel and depart for the tiny wine town of Azeitao in the Setúbal region south of Lisbon.  We’ll have lunch at By The Wine Azeitão, the flagship restaurant of the oldest quinto in Portugal: José Maria da Fonseca.

Afterwards we’ll continue on our way to Lisbon, where we’ll bid everyone farewell.

“Francisco was a font of knowledge and enthusiasm and I can’t imagine visiting Portugal without seeing it through his lens of local history, culture, and experience.”

Tour Accommodations

Portugal Food and Wine Hotel

Nights 1 & 2Vintage House Hotel / Pinhão > The Vintage House is a luxury property in the center of town on the Douro River with fantastic views of the terraced vineyards.

Night 3 > Hotel Pestana Vintage Porto Hotel & World Heritage Site / Porto > This is the quintessential lodging in Porto in the heart of the Ribeira district and on the river, with views of the port lodges of Vila Nova de Gaia across the Douro.

Nights 4 – 6 > Hotel Mar d’Ar Aqueduto / Evora > The Mar d’Ar is another luxury hotel (complete with a spa) and is located just outside the 14th century medieval walls of the old town next to the 16th century aqueduct.

What is Included

  • All local ground transportation
  • Double occupancy lodging
  • All meals (from dinner on Day 1 to lunch on Day 7) except one dinner and one lunch
  • All scheduled activities
  • Wine during organized tastings and most meals
  • Professional tour guide

Not Included: Travel to and from destination/meeting point, one internal flight between Porto and Lisbon (which we will purchase for you), one dinner in Evora, personal expenses, and optional gratuities to your guide and drivers.  Travel insurance is also not included, though we highly recommend it.  Check out our Travel Insurance page for more information.

While the general trip itinerary will remain the same, the actual restaurants, hotels, and activities listed are subject to modifications. Changes that are out of our control are common — restaurants close or lose their amazing chef, a winery changes their visiting hours, a hotel gets remodeled, etc. You are entrusting us to create an outstanding vacation for you and so it is possible we may take the liberty of making necessary changes to the itinerary that will improve your overall trip experience. If there is any one experience that is going to make or break your trip, please discuss this with us in advance.

Arrival & Departure

We meet you just after lunch the first day of the trip in the city of Porto, Portugal, at either the Porto airport (one pickup) or at a designated meeting point in the town of Porto. Our trip ends on the afternoon of the last day.  We will drop you off in the city of Lisbon, at either your hotel or at the airport.

You should make your flight to arrive in Porto (airport code OPO) and depart from Lisbon (airport code LIS).