Douro Valley Wine Tour
This sample trip was an actual tour in September 2022
We are proud to introduce Richard from The Wine School of Cheshire who is considered to be Cheshire’s foremost authority on wine tasting and wine knowledge, with a wealth of expertise in the industry that spans more than a quarter of a century.
Richard, WSET qualified and the founder of the Wine School of Cheshire, with his 27 years of knowledge about all things wine, we are extremely proud to have teamed up with him to offer exclusive wine tours, with Richard joining us in leading the tour as our wine expert.
In partnership with The Cheshire Wine School we have put together a bespoke itinerary showcasing the best the Douro can offer as well as visiting Vinho Verde and the Távora-Varosa wine regions.
Our tour will include plenty of free time too, allowing guests to take in the sights and delights of the Douro Valley as well as many private tastings and winery tours! Lunch at the Symington family’s home and a trip on the Douro in a traditional rabelo are particular highlights to look forward to.
Designed to replicate the intimacy of one of Cheshire wine school events, this remarkable wine journey is for a maximum of 15 guests. Richard will lead the group, as our wine expert, together with ourselves to make this a memorable Wine Tour.
The Douro region is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world, decreed in 1756 by the Marquis of Pombal due to its unique soil characteristics of slate and its privileged location with sun exposure.
The terraced hillsides involved in the production of the wines that pertain to the denominations of origin of "Porto" and "Douro", as well as the authenticity and integrity of the cultural landscape contributed extensively to the Alto Douro Vinhateiro being granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status in December 2001.
In terms of historic heritage, the Douro region is also an important point in the northern region, as it presents the heritage of the prehistoric, Roman, Moorish and Christian peoples who constructed true gems that remain standing today.
Long famous as the source of port wine, the Douro is now also renowned for its fine, rich unfortified wines, both red and white.
This is one of the wildest, most mountainous and rugged wine regions of Portugal, cut through in deep twists and turns by the River Douro. Defying gravity on the steep slopes along the banks of the river and its tributaries, the vines are planted in poor, schistous soils.
The Douro has a huge selection of local grape varieties, and many vineyards of impressive, gnarled old vines that give small yields of rich, complex wine, whether for port or for unfortified wines. Dozens of different grape varieties may be mixed together in these old vineyards. In modern vineyards, vines are planted separately, and five grapes have been declared the top choice for port: Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão.
Plantations of the red-juiced, high-acid Sousão, also known as Vinhão, have increased recently. Another black grape much planted in older vineyards is Tinta Amarela (also known as Trincadeira). Amongst whites, notable grapes are Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Moscatel, Rabigato and Viosinho. Some of these, from old, mixed-variety vineyards at high altitudes, are being used for a new generation of dry white wines.
We will be tasting a selection of ports, still wines, red, white and rosé, sparkling wines and vinho verdes.
September 23rd 2022
We will meet at Porto Francisco Sá Carneiro airport after your EasyJet flight EZY 1989 Departing 07.15 from Manchester. Arriving OPO 09.50
Travelling to the Douro we will stop en route in the Vinho Verde region to visit a beautiful winery for a tour, tasting and light lunch.
On the sinuous terraces of a natural amphitheatre perched high above the right bank of the Douro river, this Quinta has - for at least five centuries now - straddled the rugged terrain where two of Portugal's best-known wine-producing regions now meet. Downstream, rugged granite marks the landscape of the Vinho Verde region. Upriver, the hot, slate-layered earth is what gives Port wine its heart and soul.
With panoramic views over the river, the estate covers 49 hectares, of which 18 are planted with vineyards that also mark the frontier between two typical villages of the lower Douro - São Tomé de Covelas and Santa Cruz do Douro, both recognized for their natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.
After spending a leisurely afternoon at the winery we will travel to the heart of the Alto Douro where our home for the next four nights awaits.
We will be staying at Quinta de la Rosa, a wine producing estate on the right bank of the river Douro where we have the unique opportunity to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the Quinta. The family owned property has an outdoor swimming pool and free WiFi in public areas. Each air conditioned room offers river views and a private bathroom. There are no TVs in the rooms as this is a complete ‘get away from it all’ location but there is a lounge area with a TV. After checking in we will be given a private tour of the winery and a tasting of the wines produced by the Quinta before dinner. The family were one of the pioneers in taking red wine production in the Douro Valley seriously and their wine has won many accolades in the press and is served in many prestigious restaurants around the world. We may even be lucky to meet some members of the family while we are staying there.
After breakfast we will visit Quinta da Bomfim, a historic Douro estate situated on the north bank of the Douro River adjoining the village of Pinhão, the crossroads of the Upper Douro. The Quinta is owned by the Symington family who are one of the world’s leading producers of premium port, the leading vineyard owner in the Douro Valley and one of the top Portuguese wine producers. The Symington are a family of British and Portuguese origin who have lived and worked In Portugal since the 19th century when Andrew James Symington arrived in Portugal in 1882 aged just 19. The family business is founded on a deep commitment to Portugal’s people, it’s land and it’s vines. Today the 4th and 5th generation of Symingtons work in the family business, committed to producing the finest ports and wines and building on the achievements of the previous generations.
We will have a private tour of the winery and cellar followed by a tasting. We are then very privileged to have a wonderful wine paired lunch at the family house, an experience not available to the general public.
After a wonderful lunch, the afternoon can be spent discovering the village and train station of Pinhāo, you could take a train journey along the banks of the Douro or, if you prefer, return to our Quinta hotel to simply relax by the pool or swim in the river, hike through the surrounding vineyards or just take in the breathtaking scenery.
After breakfast we will visit a small family run winery in the Cima Corgo area of the Douro, Quinta de Cottas. This is a private Quinta, not open to the public. We can visit the vineyard and taste the wines they produce followed by lunch prepared by the family.
The story of Quinta de Cottas started with the romantic project of Isabel and Pedro Carmo who set their hearts on converting a rundown house in the heart of the Douro valley, the house we will visit.
As their passion for the region developed so did their love of the wines it produced and before long they purchased 10 hectares of vines in Alijó, the sub-region of Cima Corgo.
Their vineyards are planted with the traditional Douro grape varieties and their commitment to preserving the genetic heritage of the region means they have a fruit bowl of varietals to chose from: Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto Cão, Tinta Roriz and Sousão reds and Viosinho, Gouveio, Arinto and Rabigato in white. Their position on the slopes of the beautiful Douro valley enjoys excellent sun exposure and schist soils, a combination that ensures grapes of unique character and profile.
They now produce internationally acclaimed wines from their boutique winery that are true to the soils and standards synonymous with wines from the Douro.
Quinta de Cottas view of their terraced vines, Douro Valley
We will then travel to Lamego to visit Quinta de Pacheca.
Nearly three hundred years old, Quinta da Pacheca is one of the Douro’s most renowned estates where worldwide awarded wines are produced. One of the first to bottle wine under its own brand, Quinta da Pacheca has always valued traditions, having one of the few 18th century’s remaining milestones, used in the original Pombal’s 1756 world’s first wine region demarcation.
We will have a tour of the winery followed by a tasting menu for dinner with an explanation of the wines served.
The varied and tempting menu respects the concept of traditional Portuguese cuisine and uses the typical products of Douro that the virtuous Chef Carlos Pires works with almost divine inspiration. Each meal is paired with Quinta da Pacheca Wine enhancing the flavors adventure.
After some free time this morning we will spend the rest of the day experiencing life on a traditional working Quinta, one of the oldest in the Douro wine region. It was originally a Franciscan convent, restored over time, the main house dates from the seventeenth century and is still occupied by the family.
We will visit the vineyards with an impressive panoramic view over the Douro river. If the harvest is taking place at the time of our visit we will be able to take part in hand picking the grapes and treading the grapes the traditional way in the 'lagares'. We will have a tour of the small winery where the whole wine making process takes place, followed by a tasting guided by the winemaker or one of the family, where we will discover all the secrets of the famous port and Douro wines. This will be followed by a traditional Portuguese dinner at the Quinta, prepared with the farm's freshest products, specially cooked in the ancient farm kitchen following old family recipes perfected over generations.
After breakfast and checking out of our hotel we will depart for Pinhao where we will board a rabelo boat. This is a traditional Portuguese wooden cargo boat originally used to transport the barrels of port wine along the Douro. The characteristics of the boat enabled it to navigate more easily, and at less risk, the fast-flowing turbulent river waters. The cases of wine were never fully filled so at least they would float in case of an accident. Spectacular dams have now been built along the river to calm the waters of the Douro!
On the boat we will enjoy an hour long cruise along the Douro to admire the spectacular views, before arriving in style at DOC restaurant, 'a window over the Douro'.
A few words about the chef.......
Considered to be an indispensable reference for modern cuisine and distinguished with a Michelin star, Chef Rui Paula’s dishes reveal the memory of his origins, preserving flavors, textures, aromas and colors, in surprising recreations, full of originality.
Born in Oporto, simplicity and sense of humor shaped his personality. His Portuguese Northeastern roots fostered his taste for cooking, and the women within the family – his mother and grandmother – inspired the bases that would transform him into the professional he is today: passionate, original and surprising.
Lunch will be enjoyed on the terrace suspended over the river (weather permitting) whilst enjoying the breathtaking scenery.
After lunch we will say goodbye to the Douro Valley and travel to the Távora-Varosa wine producing region where we will visit the Murganheira wine caves.
The fertile lands of the Varosa valley are the cradle of the Murganheira still and sparkling wines, which have always been associated with the highest quality standards. Here, where the Douro region and the Beira region meet, excellent weather and geological conditions are gathered, conducive to the genesis of the most intense flavours and aromas.
After a tour of the caves and a tasting we will travel back to Porto airport for the flight back home, taking with us some wonderful memories and some beautiful wines to enjoy and remind us of Portugal.
- Transport for the whole trip including transfers to and from the airport.
- Accommodation in a traditional working Quinta.
- Breakfast each day and one other meal per day including drinks, as per itinerary.
- Winery visits and tastings.
- Hotel taxes
What’s not included
- Flights (these can be arranged by Bond Travel on booking confirmation and the cost of the flight will be added to the cost of the Wine Tour).
- Meals not included in itinerary.
- Drinks extra to those included with meals.
- Compulsory travel insurance with medical expenses and repatriation.
- Personal expenses at the hotel
- Single room supplement of £......... for the four nights
- Optional upgrade to Privilege room £..... per person in a double room, £........ in a single room.
Total cost for 5 day Douro Valley tour (excluding flights) £............per person
The trip is subject to a minimum number of 10 people booking, maximum 15 people. The itinerary is subject to change due to flight schedule timings and Covid-19 limitations and restrictions where applicable. Your safety is our top priority and we will comply with current Covid-19 regulations applicable in Portugal at the time of the trip.
Please be advised that there are steps at the hotel leading to the rooms which would not be ideal for someone with mobility problems
A 30% non refundable deposit is payable on booking.
For any further information please contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0208 144 0756
For your information, if our patner travel agent book your flights, your wine tour package will be ATOL protected.
For your information, if Cresta World Travel book your flights, your wine tour package will be ATOL protected.
The flights we will be meeting are;
Manchester to Porto 23rd September 2022 EasyJet EZY 1989 Departs 07.15 Arrives 09.50
Porto to Manchester 27th September 2022 EasyJet EZY 1990 Departs 20.55 Arrives 23.30
You are welcome to book other flights for example from another departure point if it is more convenient for you, as long as you arrive in Porto ready to depart at the same times mentioned
Porto city optional add-on
On arrival at Porto Francisco Sá Carneiro airport we will meet you to take you to your hotel in Porto, the three star Ribeira Do Porto situated in a prime location in the Ribeira district overlooking the Douro river where you will be staying for the next three nights on a bed and breakfast basis.
Your hotel is in the scenic Ribeira area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with it’s winding medieval streets and small cobblestone alleyways. You can stroll along the river’s banks and enjoy the colourful Portuguese architecture as boats pass by on the water. There are many cafés, restaurants and bars where you can sit and take in the atmosphere.
During your stay you will enjoy a traditional Portuguese dinner by the river and a visit to Graham’s port cave. The historic Graham’s Lodge, owned by the Symington family, was built in 1890 on a hilltop in Vila Nova de Gaia overlooking the Douro river and the city of Porto. Here you will have a guided tour of the cave followed by a special tasting.
The rest of the time you have in Porto is your free time for sightseeing, shopping, visiting port caves, taking a boat along the Douro river. An amazing wine museum has recently opened and there are some wonderful restaurants, wine shops and wine bars to visit. You can take a cable car for fantastic views of the Douro river and the famous Dom Luís 1 bridge, take a vintage tram city tour, visit various museums, have dinner with a Fado show, the Porto bridge climb. There is so much to see and do, or you can simply enjoy your time leisurely by the river enjoying a coffee and a Portuguese custard tart. If you would like help in planning your free time or booking experiences we can give you recommendations and help you to plan your personal itinerary.
Total cost of the Porto add-on from £....... per person based on two people sharing. Single room supplement available. A 30% non refundable deposit is payable on booking.
-Transport from the airport to your hotel
-Hotel accommodation 3 nights Superior room on a bed and breakfast basis.
-Dinner by the river
-Visit and tasting at Graham’s Port Lodge with transport
-Pick up at hotel for Douro trip
What’s not included
-Meals not stated in itinerary
-Entrance fees and tickets for experiences not included in itinerary
-Drinks with dinner in addition to the inclusive menu
Your accommodation is in the 3 star Ribeira do Porto hotel in a superior room with river views. If you prefer to stay at the 5 star Pestana Vintage Porto hotel or the 5 star Yeatman luxury wine hotel please enquire. If you wish for any specific experiences or restaurants to be booked during your stay please let us know. We have many recommendations.