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Porto Wine Cellar Tours

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Porto is a surprising city, which offers many attractions to curious and gourmet travelers. We have told you about the gastronomy of Porto and to add pleasure, don't miss the discovery of the Porto cellars. They contain all the secrets of the precious beverage of the same name. It’s the temple of oenology! You can visit the cellars in several different ways depending on the time you have, your budget, your desires... Discover the history, the wine tradition and the know-how around Port and the wines of the Douro Valley and Portugal.

Port tasting

Visit the Port Cellars

The best houses in Porto are in Vila Nova de Gaia, historically this is where the wineries were established because it was easier to dock on this side of the Douro bank, so that the boats (the rabelos) can then transport the goods to the ocean. Furthermore, for a wine to be qualified as port, since the 18th century, it must have aged in these cellars where the humidity is perfectly regulated by the climate and the presence of the Douro.

Just opposite Ribeira, the historic center district of Porto, the cellars and cellars offer a splendid spectacle. The buildings with red tiles, long and tight against each other, are all invitations to visit them…

Cross the Dom Luis bridge and go to the quays, the houses of Porto are numerous and if the best known are in front of the quays, there are others to discover by climbing the streets.

Sandeman port tour
Visit Porto Cruz
The cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia

How do the visits take place?

Cellars are mainly places where wine ages. The vines are located in the Douro Valley. It is in the vineyards that the grapes are harvested, pressed, vinified and then transported to Vila Nova de Gaia to begin the process of creating Port and aging.

What is Port? Port is a wine born from a concrete problem: In the 18th century, wines from Portugal were shipped to England (among other things and also because French wines were in disgrace due to excessive taxes...) and the sea voyage Don't succeed! The wine turns and turns into a wine that does not honor its quality or its sales. Some English merchants try to add brandy, with a higher alcohol content, and this boost stops the natural fermentation of the wine, making the acidity disappear while preserving its sugars: this is a fortified wine (and not a cooked wine as is wrongly said)! To highlight this unique production process and ensure consistent quality, the first “AOC” in the world was born: in 1756, the best practices for obtaining a port were clearly delineated with specifications quality .

The Douro Valley Photo: AdobeStock Simon Dannhauer
The Douro Valley and its vineyards on the hillsides

The historic cellars, which are still those producing port, can be visited. The wine trade has expanded around oenology and these tours are among the most important spearheads of Porto's tourism economy. Interesting, well-documented, with quality museographies suitable for all ages (yes, you can take the children), visits to the port cellars are truly a must-see during your stay. They end with a tasting, of course! Prices vary from 14 to 21 euros (according to our observations in 2023) and the price variation can be explained by several different criteria:

  • Some port houses offer guided tours, with a guide, in several languages (there are some in French!). These are quality visits, where you can be curious and ask questions. It's perfect for those who are not familiar with wine tours. No complex vocabulary or basic concepts to have, it's user-friendly, not too long and pleasant.
  • Some visits are self-guided, with an audio guide. The museography remains qualitative, and a circuit with terminals takes you from one space to another, at your own pace. These are perfect tours for those who don't want to register (essential in summer, the tours are crowded) or wait. You visit at your own pace but we recommend this type of visit only if you are already a wine lover, because you sometimes have to hang on to follow the vocabulary of grape varieties, terroir, winemaking processes, etc.
  • Tours include 1 to 3 port tastings or more. Sometimes it is possible to take a package (paired tickets or grouped prices) with a meal or another tourist activity (such as a rabelos ride, boats) and this offers advantageous prices! Think about this before purchasing your ticket.

Cellar tours are perfect for keeping busy during a downpour! Or on the contrary, enjoy the pretty sunny terraces of certain establishments. Up to you!

Winery tours in Porto
Cellar Visits
Cellar Visits

How to choose your Port cellar visit?

There are more than a dozen port houses offering tours in Vila Nova de Gaia (see our section on cellar tours to see them). To make your choice it is not easy and we cannot recommend enough that you ask yourself the question of your desires. All tours are pretty much similar. You will learn more about the creation, the history of port and the creation process, the history of the company, visit and tasting.

  • Either you have a favorite port and want to know more about that one in particular
  • Either you can go to the big storefront brands: Sandeman, Cálem…
  • On the contrary, you can stroll through the alleys of Gaia and open the doors of the quieter, more secluded houses: Real Companhia Velha, Tayor's Port...
  • There are small and intimate, authentic cellars, with almost tailor-made visits: Vasconcellos, Poças

Porto cellar museum visits
Explanations on Porto grape varieties
Film about Porto

Visits with a very beautiful museography, to discover Porto, its history, its production

Port tastings

Tastings take place at the end of the visits. They can consist of several glasses in small quantities and be accompanied automatically or as an option, a little cheese, bread, olive oil, chocolate... Let yourself be guided by the sommelier who will guide you will give all the tasting advice. We wrongly think that port is a wine reserved for an aperitif or dessert, but you can absolutely compose a meal entirely with port. They are not all as sweet and some offer real refreshing flavors in the mouth. Port wine goes very well with venison or strong-tasting meat in general.

There are white port wines, less known because they are more recent and slightly different in production. They are also found in dry and very dry varieties. Red port wines are classified into several categories: “Vintages” (exceptional, very rare and expensive), Late Bottled Vintage, Ruby and Tawny (said to be oxidized).

Port wine is part of the city's DNA, its culture, tradition and notoriety. Do not hesitate to visit several cellars, the information will not be redundant but complementary.

Port tasting
Port tasting