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Wine Tours in Portugal

There’s more to Portuguese wine than port and Madeira

Wine tours Portugal.
You may think you know Portugal, but think again. A popular year-round destination for holidaymakers, the country has something for everyone, whether you want to spend your time playing golf, cycling through the scenic countryside, lounging on a sun-soaked beach or sampling what the local vineyards have to offer. Portugal is a small but mighty country in many ways, including its microcosm of different landscapes that produce some truly excellent wines. If you haven’t been – and even if you have – Portugal should be next on your bucket list.

Portugal is home to 250 (and counting) indigenous grape varieties across its 31 wine regions that are as distinct as the country’s terrain.

Douro Valley is the most famous of Portugal’s wine regions, as it’s home to port, the country’s most famous wine. The Unesco World Heritage Site is deeply rooted in Portuguese history and offers stunning views, making it a must-see for both beginners and experienced wine lovers. The valley is home to both the Port and Douro regions, and are well-known for producing medium-bodied reds, often blends, with notes of red and black fruits.

The Alentejo region is Portugal’s largest, covering much of the southern third of the country, and its least densely populated. The terrain varies wildly — from vineyards and rolling farmland dotted with cattle to sprawling, shadowy groves of cork trees — and the culture is rooted deeply in land and sea. Nearly everyone in Portugal has a place in the Alentejo to reminisce about — a personal ‘Eden.’

Let us take you on a wine tour to Portugal and help you to find your own piece of paradise.

Portugal

Portgual; Europe’s westernmost wine growing country is best known for Port, but there is so much more… the huge range of 250 indigenous grape varieties found nowhere else gives the wines unique character. If you’re looking for a truly distinctive wine destination you’ll find it all here.

MAIN REGIONS

Douro Valley, the river has created some of Europe’s most breath-takingly beautiful scenery and vines flourish on the steep terraces cut out of the land. Rich, robust reds are produced as well as ports.  Vinho Verde, Dao, Bairrada, Alentejo, Lisboa and Setubal complete the line-up of mainland regions. But the list is not complete without the unique island of Madeira which sits in the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Africa.

MAIN Grapes

Guaranteed to provide novel flavours and aromas, whites varieties include Arinto, Bical, Loureiro and Rupiero; and reds Aragonez, Baga, Touriga Nacional, Trincadeira and Vinhao! Port has 5 main grapes. And in Madeira the 4 ‘noble’ grapes are Sercial, Verdelho, Bual and Malmsey, though Tinta Negra Mole accounts for 85% of plantings.

Climate and Terroir

Mainland Portugal has a Mediterranean climate with warm dry summers and mild, wet autumns and winters. In the northern/coastal areas there is a strong Atlantic influence with high rainfall. In general, temperatures are higher in the south (e.g. Alentejo) and lower in the north. Soils vary widely from the steeply terraced alluvial vineyards of the Douro Valley; to fertile clay in Bairrada; to the flat sandy plains of Setubal; and to the undulating limestone hills of Alentejo. Madeira has a temperate, maritime climate and soils are volcanic/basalt.

FUN FACT

In 1758 Douro Valley became one of the first wine-producing regions of the world to be officially demarcated when the ‘Região Demarcada do Douro’ was created by the Marquis of Pombal.

Past Wine Tours to Portugal

Douro Wine Tours Portugal - Criterion Wine Tours

Porto & Douro Valley

Porto is pretty, Porto is edgy. We experienced both aspects in our fabulous wine tour to Northern Portugal. The port lodges of Porto opened up their secrets to us. We had fun riding tuk-tuks around the city. We felt adventurous travelling up the Douro by train and boat; marvelling at the steep, terraced, river-lined vineyards. And of course we tried different styles of port wines and the divine local dishes. Portugal, we miss you already.

wine tours Portugal

Madeira Wine Tours Portugal - Criterion Wine Tours

Madeira

We kicked off this 4-day tour organised by our guest wine expert, Nancy Gilchrist MW, with a visit to the Madeira Wine Institute. At Pereira D’Oliviera we tasted an extraordinary range of this small island’s treasures with vintages from 1989, 1977, 1968, 1932 – and the highlight…a 1907 Malvasia! A tasting at Henriques & Henriques finished with a 50 year old Tinta Negra Mole, and tours at Barbeito and Blandys, the oldest producer on the island, provided a unique insight to the wines of this stunning volcanic island.

Southern Portugal

Lisbon, Setúbal and Alentejo are perhaps not the most famous of wine regions, but Southern Portugal has much to offer the curious wine lover. 2023 saw our first venture into these fascinating regions and it didn’t disappoint. We visited Setúbal, best known for its legendary fortified wines produced from Moscatel; Alentejo with its rolling hills covered in vineyards, olive groves, cork forests, whitewashed villages, and Moorish castles, offering indigenous grapes including Trincadeira, Alfrocheiro Preto, Arinto, Antão Vaz and Fernão Pires.

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