The scenery of the Douro region is spectacular. As far as the eye can see, the mountainous terrain is covered with contour-line-like terraces. The scale is impressive, too. There’s just so much of it. The Douro region is the perfect landscape for winemaking. Let MADABOUTPORTO.COM be your essential guide to the area's sights, things to do, best hotel options and a range of guided tours. Come and explore this incredibly beautiful region with us.
Douro table wines is a recent global phenomenon. The demarcation of the Douro, the first demarcated wine region of the world, was developed with Port wine in mind. It is Port production that has shaped the landscape and life within this unique environment. Small vineyards for generations have been growing grapes, the finest was sold to the Port producers and those of lesser quality were sold to co-operatives to make wine. With the relaxation of the strict regulations and the pioneering efforts of a few dedicated visionaries, the Douro has established itself as Portugal’s premium wine region in a relatively short period of history. For some of the traditional Port companies, table wine is only a side-line. A critical mass of like-minded winemakers has emerged, passionate about making the very best table wines that this landscape is capable of. In either case, the terrain, climate and pallet of indigenous grape varieties account for the finest quality of Bothe fortified and non-fortified wines.
Then there’s the soil. The ‘terroir’, is just about perfect for growing quality wine grapes. It’s schist, with a bit of granite here and there. It doesn’t look promising for growing anything, but vines flourish in these conditions. The poor soil encourages them to sink their roots deep, where they find a steady but stingy water supply and divert their energies to grape production.
IVDP- Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto Website
The river Douro (Spanish: Duero) flows 897 km (557 miles) from its source in Duruelo de la Sierra, Spain at an elevation of over 2,000 metres to Porto to the West. As it descends from its mountainous beginnings the terrain and climate changes from arid conditions to more temperate conditions. This variation is reflected in the three sub-regions the Douro wine-growing area is divided into: from west to east the Baixo Corgo, Cima Corgo and Douro Superior. The fertile, cooler, rainier Baixo Corgo, closest to the Serra do Marão, is the sub-region with the most vineyards.
The westernmost zone located downstream from the river Corgo, a total area of 45,000 hectares, centred on the municipality of Peso da Régua, where the largest concentration of vineyards can be found – 29.9% of the sub-region area. This region is the wettest part of the Douro wine region, receiving an average of 900 mm, and has the coolest average temperature of the three zones. It is the most fertile of the three, the main reasons being the higher rainfall and the ability to create deeper soils.
Douro Sub-Region Map - © Delahay&Co
Located further upstream from the Baixo Corgo, the landscape changes dramatically, centred around the town of Pinhão (municipality of Alijó). Hill slopes become more rugged and river and stream valleys are deeper, while soil and climate conditions are harsher. Of its 95,000 hectares, vineyards currently cover no more than 17.9%. Small ownership prevails but the quality is generally high. The summertime average temperature of the region is a few degrees higher and rainfall is about 200 mm less than the Baixo Corgo. The grapes grown in this zone are considered of higher quality.
The easternmost zone extending nearly to the Spanish border. It is the largest sub-region, with a total area of 110,000 hectares. However, only 7.3% of this area is planted with vines. In comparison with the other two sub-regions, Douro Superior is less mountainous, with generally softer slopes and fewer deep valleys. Its climate is typically Mediterranean-style, with the highest summer temperatures and annual rainfall of about 400 mm. This is the aridest and warmest region of the Douro.
The Duriense wine region covers the same geographic area as the Douro DOC and the Port wine region. The difference from Douro DOC, Duriense VR, similar to France's Vin de pays, has less stringent rules for winemakers and allows for winemakers some room for experimentation and indeed innovation. A broader choice of grapes and winemaking procedures is permissible.
Moscatel is a particularly aromatic grape variety, with citrus, flowery, ‘grapey’ flavours. It ripens with high sugar levels and is ideal for making sweet, fortified wines. Other than the Setúbal region in Portugal, the Douro produces this honey-like nectar, notably around the towns of Alijó and Favaios.
The Muscatel or Muscat grape has numerous variants across the world, however. the type found in the Douro, Moscatel Galego Branco (Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains) is recognised worldwide as the most elegantly scented in the family, but in truth, the elegance depends upon vineyard location and vine management. The skins of Muscat grapes are rich in flavour, so they are left in during fermentation, and grape brandy is added when the wine has fermented down to the required degree of sweetness. The wine is then left on the skins for a further three months or more, to absorb more flavour before being aged for a minimum of 18 months in large wooden vats. Originally Moscatel Galego Branco was used in white Port production but now this enigmatic grape is used to full advantage to make sweet Moscatel wines with balanced acidity, floral, citrus aromas, and flavours of orange or tangerine peel, apricots and butterscotch, turning nuttier and more figgy and raisiny the longer they remain in a wooden vat.
Moscatel do Douro
Cálem Port Lodge
Last and not least Port is made in the Douro too, traditionally after a short maceration, the Port is shipped to Porto where it's aged before being bottled. Today new regulations say it can be aged anywhere in the Douro and still be classified as Port. We've dedicated a whole page on the subject of Port. More About [ ► ]
Moscatel do Douro is a style of sweet fortified wines which the area around Favaios is famed for. This Muscat variety (Moscatel Galego Branco) produces wonderful sweet wines, with golden colours with typical notes of oranges and honey. Moscatel do Douro makes a wonderful aperitif and dessert wine. The Cooperativa de Favaios has been one of the most prestigious wineries in Portugal ever since 1952 and since its conception has grown into 550 associates. 14 km (8.5 miles) north of Pinhão the town itself is dedicated to wine production, whose origins might go as far back as the Roman occupation of the area. It's believed the town of Favaios acquired its name from Emperor Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus. Today the Cooperative has extended its range and produces table wines, Ports and sparkling wines. The winery offers custom-made and set visitor programmes and offers guided tours with wine tastings to the winery and the cellars.
Daily: 09h00 - 12h30/14h00 - 19h00
Adega Cooperativa de Favaios, Lugar dos Pousadas 5070-265, Favaios, Portugal.
41º 16' 13.5" N | 07º 30' 15.7" W
+351 913 288 994 | email@example.com | Website
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For an authentic vineyard experience, visit Croft’s flagship vineyard estate, Quinta da Roêda, at Pinhão in the heart of the Douro Valley. The visitors’ centre is housed in Roêda’s old stables which have been carefully restored in the traditional Douro Valley style. These provide a spacious environment in which to taste Croft’s renowned port wines and browse the shop for unique local products, such as the estate’s own extra virgin olive oil.
Discover the secrets of the vineyards as you take a guided walking tour through the property, stopping at points of interest along the way and taking in the magnificent landscape and the stunning views across the Douro River. During the harvest you can also enjoy the unforgettable experience of treading the grapes in the ‘lagares’, the granite treading tanks in which the wine is made (advance booking by email required).
April – October: Daily 10h00 - 18h30pm, November – March: Daily 10h00 - 18h00pm
Quinta da Roêda, 5085-016 Pinhão, Portugal.
41° 11' 09.2" N | 07° 31' 42.2" W
+351 220 109 830 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Website
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Quinta da Casa Amarela is situated on the left bank of the River Douro, halfway between the cities of Peso da Régua and Lamego. It has been owned by the same family since 1885. The house, rebuilt and expanded in the first quarter of the last century, lends its name to the property, because of its yellow colour. Quinta da Casa Amarela is a family-oriented company and keeps alive the old traditions of the region and the art of producing Port Wine and Douro DOC wine.
The estate has vines with an average age of more than 45 years old, where the noble indigenous varieties of Douro are grown and it develops sustainable winegrowing in a unique Terroir, which respects and protects the environment.
Quinta da Casa Amarela, Rio Bom, 5100-421 Lamego, Portugal.
41º 08' 35.3" N | 07º 47' 59.0" W
+351 254 666 200 | email@example.com | Website
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One of the best-known estates in the Douro region, Quinta da Pacheca was one of the first properties to bottle wine under its own label. It is first mentioned in a document dated April 1738, where is it referred to as “Pacheca’s”, because it was the property of D. Mariana Pacheco Pereira. But it was only in 1903, when Dom José Freire de Serpa Pimentel decided to develop his interest in oenology, that he bought the estate and began to seriously dedicate himself to the risky business of winemaking.
Today, a century and many successes later, a brand-new generation of the Serpa Pimentel family is at the head of Quinta da Pacheca: Maria, Catarina and José are the young new faces of this family old company.
Daily: 10h30 – 17h30
Cambres, 5110-424 Lamego, Portugal.
41° 09' 19.6" N | 07° 47' 53.1" W
+351 254 313 228 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Website
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Quinta das Carvalhas is one of the most emblematic and spectacular properties in the Douro Valley. Written references regarding this magnificent vineyard can be traced back to 1759. Enjoying a prominent position on the left bank of the Douro river, in Pinhão, the estate covers the entire hillside facing the Douro river and occupies part of the slopes of the right bank of the tributary Torto river. Carvalhas’ Old Vines, are a post-phylloxera plantation, which has reached the respectful age of a century old. At Quinta das Carvalhas it is possible to enjoy wine tastings at their wine shop, located right at the entry of the property. Visitors are welcome to appreciate the breathtaking views on a sightseeing bus, walking tours or even through a “birdwatching” programme. The tours provide the possibility of visiting the iconic Round House, located at 550 metres on the top of the mountain, with a panoramic 360º view.
10h00 - 19h30
Quinta das Carvalhas 5085-034 Pinhão, Portugal.
41° 11' 12.8" N | 07° 32' 32.9" W
+351 254 738 050 | email@example.com | Website
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Quinta de la Rosa, situated a short walk from the village of Pinhão, is a working vineyard and winery and offers guests and visitors the opportunity to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the Quinta. Quinta de la Rosa has been in the Bergqvist family since 1906, although they have been in the port trade as shippers under the family name, Feueheerd, since 1815. It currently has around 55 hectares under vine and produces around 80,000 litres of port and 300,000 litres of table wine each year. During the visit to the winery and the traditional port cellar, you will learn about the family estate and how port and wine is made. La Rosa is unusual as we are able to show the whole port and winemaking process from the vineyard to the final bottle. Most port houses make their port in the Douro but store and bottle it in Vila Nova da Gaia, in Porto. We do everything in the Douro. Not only that, but we are able to show both wine and port making processes side by side.
From May to October: 09h30 – 19h00, From November to March: 10h00 - 18h000
Quinta de la Rosa, 5085-215 Pinhão, Portugal.
41° 10' 56.5" N | 07° 33' 09.5" W
+ 351 254 732 254 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Website
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Quinta do Bomfim is located on the north bank of the Douro River adjoining the village of Pinhão and is owned by the Symington family who has worked here for five generations. Guests can enjoy the heritage of this famous estate while visiting the winery, the beautiful old wine cellar and the vineyard. The family-made ports and wines may be tasted on the terrace with wonderful views of the Douro River and surrounding vineyards. The tour begins in a small museum that tells the story of the property, the family and the wines. A collection of early 20th century photographs of the Douro and documents record the history of the Quinta and the region. Visitors may choose between three vineyard walks that afford excellent views of the surrounding mountain vineyards, some with dry stone terraces built by hand in the 18th and 19th centuries. The visit includes the old lodge built-in 1896, one of the most magnificent such structures in the Douro Valley.
High Season: Daily 10h30 – 19h00, Low Season: Tuesday – Sunday 09h30 – 17h30
Quinta do Bomfim, 5085-060 Pinhão, Alijó, Portugal.
41º 11' 21.6" N | 07º 32' 24.4" W
+351 254 730 370 | email@example.com | Website
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The name of Quinta do Noval first appeared in 1715 and is one of the best family-run Port and wine producers the Douro has to offer. The wines produced in Quinta do Noval express the greatness of its terroir.
Quinta do Noval has opened a visitors centre following the success of their visitors centre in Vila Nova da Gaia. As well as offering fortified and unfortified wines, the new centre is meant to be a “place of discovery” and “exchange of information” where visitors can discover the region, its soils and grape varieties and, of course, Quinta do Noval itself. With several interactive tools, the visitor will be able to discover the terroir and the unique character of the vineyard of Quinta do Noval and to understand the traditional methods of production of great Port wines.(advance booking by email required).
Low Season: 10h30 - 13h00/14h00 - 19h30, Closed Sunday & Monday High Season: 10h30 - 19h30 Daily
Vale de Mendiz, 5085-110 Pinhão, Portugal.
41° 12' 48.4" N | 07° 32' 21.3" W
+351 223 770 270 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Website
Quinta do Crasto benefits from exceptional conditions for producing wines and olive oils of the highest possible quality located in Gouvinhas, in the municipality of Sabrosa. The standard Wine Tourism visit to Quinta do Crasto usually begins in the grape reception area; then continues through the newly renovated winemaking cellars; move through the innovative barrel cellar, where the premium and super-premium wines make their ageing process; shows Vinha Maria Teresa, one of the most emblematic vineyards of Quinta do Crasto, where is given a brief description of the viticulture methods; takes visitors to the laboratory, where the strict quality controls of all our wines are performed; ending at the Century-Old House, where is made the commented tasting of five wines and a Port. The tour lasts for about 90 minutes. (Advance booking by email required).
Quinta do Crasto, Gouvinhas, 5060-063 Sabrosa, Portugal.
41° 09' 50.8" N | 07° 37' 41.9" W
+351 254 920 020 | email@example.com | Website
Quinta do Portal is a family fine winemaking company that embraced with passion the “Boutique Winery” concept. They're renowned for producing premium DOC wines and Ports a project which started in the early ’90s, utilising a century-old estate where Port has been produced since the end of the 19th century. Their passion for quality over quantity has earned them much respect in the wine community both nationally and internationally.
Visit Quinta do Portal and increase your knowledge about the wonderful Douro region and its unique wines, that combine history and tradition with modernity, elegance and exclusivity. (Advance booking by email required).
Daily: 10h00 - 13h00/14h00 - 18h00
EN 323 Celeirós – 5060-909 Sabrosa, Portugal.
41° 14' 24.8" N | 07° 34' 09.9" W
+351 259 937 000 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Website