Is Portugal Europe’s hottest new wine destination? Find out where to go and what to sample with our guide to the Douro, Alentejo and Vinho Verde wine regions.
Long overshadowed by its prominent neighbours (France, Italy and Spain, we’re looking at you), Portugal provides a fresh alternative to Europe’s usual tourist haunts.
With a magnificent coastline, medieval castles and burgeoning wine industry that is gaining more and more international recognition and accolades, now is the time to explore the spoils of Portugal.
So top up your glass and get your notepad ready, as we reveal Portugal’s greatest wine regions and award-winning drops.
Where is it?
Said to be the oldest wine region in the world dating back to 1756, the Douro region is recognised by UNESCO as World Heritage listed territory.
It begins some 120 kilometres east of Porto airport and extends along the axis of the Douro River, encompassing three sub-regions; Douro Superior, Alto Corgo and Baixo Corgo.
Characterised by mountains and terraced vineyards, it was here that port wine was born.
Graham’s recently-renovated lodge promises spectacular views of Porto’s historic city centre and the iconic two-tier bridge that connects the cities of Oporto and Gaia, as well as three centuries of port-making craftsmanship and internationally-awarded wine.
Travel back to the origins of Portuguese tradition with a glass of Ferreira port wine.
Here you can immerse yourself in the history of port wine while learning about legendary local figure, Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira (one of the greatest Portuguese entrepreneurs and port producers).
Real Companhia Velha
Also known as Royal Oporto Wine Company, Real Companhia Velha is the oldest port wine producing company of Portugal.
Go on a guided tour through the ageing warehouse and vintage museum, followed by port tastings.
Croft Port – With over 400 centuries of history, Croft is renowned for their port-making innovation.
Be sure to sample the Croft PINK launched in 2008 – the world’s first pink port wine.
Sample two great icons of Portuguese culture with a guided tour followed by wine tasting and a Fado concert.
Quinta do Crasto
Located on the banks of the Douro River, Quinta do Crasto is a family estate that boasts wines to match the views.
With many international accolades (including 1995 the Wine of the Year at the UK’s International Wine Challenge), this is also one of the best estates to enjoy lunch.
Where is it?
Indisputably one of the most picturesque regions in Portugal, Alentejo is synonymous with sunny days, vast terracotta plains, plentiful oak trees and spotless blue skies.
Located just over 100 kilometres north east of Lisbon airport, the region occupies more than one third of Portugal’s mainland area, divided into eight sub-regions; Reguengos, Borba, Redondo, Vidigueira, Évora, Granja-Amareleja, Portalegre and Moura.
Herdade dos Grous
Do yourself a favour and book the ‘Chef Night’s at the wine cellar’ dining experience for a truly traditional meal in the company of the Herdade dos Grous chef, perfectly matched with local wine.
Herdade do Esporão
History and wine come together at this iconic estate, where you can sample outstanding quality wines as well as visit the famed Esporão Tower, dating back to the 1400’s.
There’s also the Perdigões archaeological museum, which houses the most important pieces from this archaeological complex.
Set within a contemporary whitewashed building, Adega Mayor treats visitors to a custom-made tasting room to sample their internationally-acclaimed wines.
Better still, the space opens onto a panoramic terrace with a lawn and a lake, overlooking the estate’s vineyard and the olive grove. Drink in that view!
L’AND and Vineyards
Championing all things locally-made and beautiful, this store and vineyard stocks all manner of regional products including olive oil to furniture and homewares. And of course, wine.
Visit the Wine Club for a private tasting. There’s also gorgeous vineyard villas available.
Monte da Ravasqueira
Inspired by California’s Napa Valley, the cellar of Monte da Ravasqueira is run entirely using software developed in-house for rigorous control of the wine making process.
After experiencing the wine-tasting facilities, visit the estate’s Carriage Driving Museum – a large private collection of harnesses and carriages of various eras and styles.
Where is the region?
Located in the far north of Portugal, bordered by the Minho River and the Atlantic coast, the wine region of the “Vinho Verde” (Green Wines) is the largest in Portugal, spreading across 34000 hectares.
This green wine region also takes in nine sub-regions: Amarante, Ave, Baião, Basto, Cávado, Lima, Monção e Melgaço, Paiva and Sousa.
Being an area that is blessed with mild temperatures, rich in water supply and fertile granitic soils with high acidity, it’s ideal terrain for the production of white wines, including many top sparkling wines.
Quinta da Aveleda
Currently the largest Vinho Verde exporting company, Quinta da Aveleda offers much more than wines.
The estate is also revered for its parks and gardens where many rare species flourish, some of which have been around for over 200 years.
Quinta do Ameal
The wines produced here are exclusively made from organic grapes that grow on the farm, as part of the estate’s energy-efficient approach to winemaking.
Exported to over 15 countries worldwide, you’ll find Ameal on the wine lists of some of the most prestigious wine lists.
Quinta do Soalheiro
As one of the first estates to produce Alvarinho wine, Quinta de Soalheiro has a tasting room with optimal conditions for sampling this white wine varietal as well as their sparkling options.
Quinta de Santa Cristina
As one of the newer wineries in the area, Quinta de Santa Cristina was built from scratch in 2014 and now produces over 500,000 litres of award-winning white, red, rosé and sparkling wines.
Tours showcase the traditional route of the grapes from the vineyard to the foot-treading mill in the cellar.