Porto Wine Cellars
Guide to visit the wineries in Vila Nova de Gaia
Porto Wine Cellars
In Portuguese, the cellars are known as caves. So when you see that word walking around Porto, you know what it means.
Technically the wineries are not in the city of Porto, they are actually in the city of Vila Nova de Gaia. To get there, you just have to cross the river across the Dom Luis I Bridge from the Ribeira. It’s just a few minutes and in addition it’s a very pleasant walk with one of the best views of Porto’s riverfront.
Visiting the Porto wine cellars
We recommend anyone visiting Porto to make a visit to the wine cellars. It is interesting to learn about the history, the processes and the impact that wine has had on the city. In addition to the delightful tasting that awaits you at the end of the tour.
Origin of port wine
In the Douro Valley region white and red wine was already being produced in the 17th century. But it was the conflicts of 1678 between England and France that led to the emergence of port wine. The English ran out of wine imports from France, and in the search for alternatives they came across the wines of the Douro. They experimented mixing the red wine with spirits or brandy, to stop fermentation and be able to preserve it better during the voyage to England. This is how Porto wine or port wine was born and became popular.
Thanks to this origin related to England, you will see that many wineries have names that are not Portuguese at all. It was not until the creation of the Real Companhia Velha, in 1781, that the Portuguese began to enter the port wine business as well.
How the Porto wineries operate
In the guided tours of the different Porto wine cellars, they will explain you the whole journey of the grapes until they are transformed into this precious wine. While your guide tells you everything, you walk through the barrel rooms, some of which are reserved for celebrities.
At the end of the visit you will go to a tasting room where you will be served two or three types of Porto to enjoy at your leisure.
The generic tour usually costs between 10€ and 15€, and is offered in different languages.
You can make a reservation in advance, in order to be able to do the visit when you desire. That said, you can also make the reservation at the winery on the same day, but you run the risk of not being able to find a place in the language or the time you desire.
You should always ask for updated schedules because each winery has different hours of operation and can vary according to demand.
The wineries are mostly quite close to each other and almost all of them close early, so it is best to arrive before 5 pm.
All the wineries have their own store where you can buy bottles of port wine and other souvenirs related to the world of wine to take home.
Which Porto winery to visit?
The truth is that all of them are beautiful, interesting and with a wonderful product. So you really don’t need to give it too much thought. And if you can, visit more than one.
Poças: a family business with more than 100 years of history, but with a young spirit. They have a newly renovated visitor center. We recommend visiting them to get to know a more modern approach of port wine. Their visitor center is a bit away from the river (approximately a 20 min walk). Nevertheless, it’s worth the effort because it tends to be not as crowded as the ones by the river front. Thus, you will be in a relaxed atmosphere to appreciate one of the best port wines. Book a visit here.
Calém: is one of the classic wineries and one of the first you find when crossing the Dom Luis I Bridge. It has a small interactive museum that you can walk around while waiting for your guided tour. Book a visit here.
Sandeman: A classic and well located winery in a 1797 building.
Ramos Pinto: in the riverfront area, with a small museum of antique viticultural objects. You can buy their old posters to take home.
Real Companhia Velha: the first Portuguese port wine house.
Offley: one of the old British companies.
Ferreira: You have to walk a bit along the river in Vila Nova de Gaia to get there. Nevertheless, its location in an old convent, makes it is well worth it!
Wine cellar + tourist bus + cruise offer
If you buy a ticket for this Porto tourist bus, you have access to its two routes covering the whole city for 48 hours, including the wineries area. It includes a visit with wine tasting at the Cálem Cellar and a river cruise.
How to reach the Porto Wineries
Buses 900, 901 904 and 906 will take you there, but we recommend passing the Don Luis Bridge walking, starting at the La Ribeira and continuing on foot to the cellars.
We recommend you not to hesitate, and visit at least one winery. You will realize that it is one of the essential visits to do in Porto.
Visit to the Douro region
If you have the time and can afford a visit to the Douro Valley from Porto we highly encourage you to do it. Here you will be dazzled by the staggering landscape and the vineyards that stretch all the way to the river. You can visit the quintas (the Portuguese name for the estates) where wine is produced and do wine tasting as well.
Book your visit to Porto’s wineries
Choose your favorite activity related to port wine.
Tasting at "Poças" winery.
Learn about port wine in a cellar with more than 100 years of history. Taste three different ports.
Porto Tour with Wine Tasting
Walking tour with English speaking guide through the city, including admission and tasting in a Porto wine cellar.