Port wine is called Vinho do Porto in Portuguese. And if you’re already there, what could be more natural than a port wine t asting or port wine tasting in Porto? Port wine is one of the oldest export hits of Porto and THE product of the city. Porto is located on the Douro River and further east on the Douro is the Douro Valley. Here the grapes for this special wine are grown and pressed. In the past, ships called Rabelos transported the wine to Porto to the most beautiful port wineries in Vila Nova de Gaia. There the wines continue to mature, depending on the quality for years or even decades. Today, tourists instead of port wine sail along the Douro on the Rabelos – and I’ve been told it’s really worth seeing.
Planning a trip to Porto?
Then I highly recommend my Porto Travel Guide!
- What is port wine?
- When and how to drink port wine?
- Port wine tasting in Porto: Where to go for a good port wine tasting?
- Guided tour of Graham’s Lodge
- Port wine tasting with Tawny and Ruby
- How do you get to Graham’s Lodge in Vila Nova de Gaia?
- Other port wineries in Vila Nova de Gaia
What is port wine?
Welcome to my travel blog!
Hey, I’m Tatiana, a German-Brazilian living in Berlin & the author behind The Happy Jetlagger. I’ve been writing about my travels since 2014. In addition to my job as a flight attendant, this blog is my passion project!
Actually, I’m not a big fan of port wine. Port wine is one of the sweet wines, they say, but it makes me sick to my stomach because it is so strong and reminds me more of cognac. And wine-wise, I’m generally not an expert. Although I’ve had plenty of opportunities to taste good wines, my wine knowledge doesn’t get beyond a simple “I like it” or “I don’t.” I’m sure they could slip me wine from a tetrapak and sell it as the most expensive wine ever. But I like to get to know new things on my travels, and Porto doesn’t work without port wine!
When and how to drink port wine?
Classically, port is drunk as a digestive and accompaniment to a cheese platter or dessert. Port wine is served in tulip-shaped glasses, which are slightly smaller than conventional red or white wine glasses. Since port wine has a high alcohol content, it is also usually served in smaller quantities of about 80 to 120ml. However, port wine is also well suited chilled as an aperitif, to accompany during meals or as an ingredient for cocktails.
Port wine tasting in Porto: Where to go for a good port wine tasting?
The nice staff member at the hotel recommended Graham’s Winery. If you are on the banks of the Douro and look across to Vila Nova de Gaia you’ll see that one port winery follows another. Whether it’s Sandeman, Graham’s, Ferreira, Taylor’s, or Calem. All wineries offer guided tours followed by a tasting, and there is even a port-wine-themed hotel or hostel* on the premises of Sandeman.
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Guided tour of Graham’s Lodge
The tour of Graham’s winery is offered in different languages and is really informative: after a short film about the production in the Douro Valley, a tour guide leads you through the winery.
Port wine tasting with Tawny and Ruby
By the way, I ended up in the Portuguese-speaking tour with a handful of Brazilians. Which made it all the more amusing, because we Brazilians are communicative by nature and even more so after three glasses of port wine. In summer it must be even more beautiful up here: from the in-house restaurant you have the best view over Porto! Incidentally, I could taste out differences despite my untrained palate: I liked Tawny more than Ruby.
The tour includes 3 different varieties, but connoisseurs can also let it rip and taste through the crème de la crème of port wines – if they bring the necessary change, because only the wine tasting can cost there already times 200€.
Prior reservation is strongly recommended in high season!
➜ Tickets for Graham’s Port Lodge* (with food pairing)
How do you get to Graham’s Lodge in Vila Nova de Gaia?
Vila Nova de Gaia is located on the other side of the Douro River. If you’re staying in the center of Porto, it’s a bit of a journey from there to Graham’s Lodge by public transport. But with the Porto Card* you can use the public transport with metro and buses for free. There are many port wineries in Porto, but Graham’s Lodge is particularly beautiful with its impressive views of Porto.
If you don’t feel like searching for addresses and routes, you can join a walking tour and get to know several wineries in one day:
Other port wineries in Vila Nova de Gaia
If you don’t feel like it or have time to drive out to Graham’s (I took the bus there and strolled back along the Douro in the evening – but it’s quite a bit), you can also visit the wineries of Calem, and taste port wine there too! Calem is also located on the other side of the Douro, but directly by the promenade and near the Ponte Dom Luis I.
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