Most people don’t realise how much there is to know about wine tasting in Porto. Besides the famous Port wine cellars, there are some amazing wine bars in the city where you can taste wines from all around the country. There is also a fantastic wine museum that, although not dedicated specifically to Portuguese wines, is a wealth of knowledge about wine making. It truly is a fantastic place, and I’ll talk more about it in the article.
You can also join a group tour in Douro Valley (~100€ / pax) or, if you’re serious about wine tasting, you should consider booking our premium & private tour in Douro Valley, where we’ll take you to two fantastic family-owned small scale producers.
Our private full day tour in Porto is also a good option, particularly for those that want to explore the world of Portuguese wines without leaving the city, as we will take you to the most exclusive (and secret!) wine lodge 😉
Enough talking. Let’s take a closer look at wine tasting in Porto! 🙂
Go for a wine tasting at the Port lodges
If you are in the city for a couple of days you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to do a wine tasting in Porto at one of our famous Port wine lodges.
There, you will be able to not only to learn about the production process of Port wine, but also to taste different Ports.
The wines are produced in Douro Valley, but the big brands still age its Ports at the Port wine lodges in Gaia, and there you’ll be able to see the large vats and the smaller wine barrels… it is magic! 🙂
What are the best Port wine lodges?
I’ve already written about the best Port lodges in Porto. Nonetheless, let me give you some advice on how to pick the best Port wine lodge for you:
- If you want to have the most informative tour, with a detailed explanation of the Port wine production process, than I highly recommend you to take a guided tour and wine tasting at Graham’s. Moreover, Graham’s has an incredible terrace overlooking the Douro river. It is stunning and a great place to have a glass of Port with some tapas!
- If you want a good value for the money I recommend you to visit a Port wine tasting at Calém combined with a live Fado show. It’s a great way to experience Port wine and enjoy some traditional Portuguese music. You can get your online ticket for a Fado Show at Calém’s Port wine lodge. The only bad thing about Calém is that, as it is by the riverside, it is usually full of people.
- If you want to visit a really unique Port wine lodge, then I recommend you to book a guided tour and wine tasting at Cockburn’s because you will have the very rare opportunity of seeing their coopers’ team repairing the wine barrels. It is also the largest (and hence most impressive) working cellar in the city.
- If you prefer to visit a small scale producer, I recommend you to try the wine tasting at Poças, which is one of being one of the very few Port wine lodges in the hands of a Portuguese family (unfortunately, most brands belongs to English companies). So, if you are looking for a traditional, family owned Port wine lodge, look no further!
More useful information about the Port wine lodges
- Where to go: Usually, the Port wine lodges by the riverside are PACKED. The groups can take up to 30 people, which, in my opinion, decreases the overall quality of the experience. You won’t be able to ask a lot of questions or pause to take pictures. Therefore, I always prefer to go to the furthest Port houses, as the tours are more intimate and personal.
- What to taste: In most lodges, the standard tasting is quite poor, consisting of entry level wines. In my opinion, it is really worth it to pay a little extra to taste better Port wines, specially because the differences between rubys and tawnies are easier to spot in older wines. Better wine tastings allow you to get a proper introduction to Port wines and to better understand your own preferences, so go for it! 🙂 In my opinion, you should try at least a 10 years old Tawny, an LBV and a White Port.
- How many Port houses: This is a personal choice but in my opinion, you should focus on quality rather than quantity. It is better to visit two Port wine lodges with informative and well structured tours, rather than visit five with awful wines and scripted tours. In that regard, I find Graham’s Port lodge particularly good.
- Audio guided visits: If you already know a little bit about Port wines, then you might find the visit to Taylor a rather interesting one. The tour is completely automated (no guides, only audio guides), which is great for people like me, who prefer detailed information at my own pace. However, it is not the best lodge for groups of friends, and there will be no interaction among you!
- Be careful with free wine tastings in Porto! This might seem a stupid advice, but it certainly isn’t. If you buy a cable car ticket, go for a hop on hop off tour or have the 6 bridges cruise you’ll get a free Port wine tasting at one of the Port houses. Don’t expect good quality wines though!
WoW: an incredible wine museum
There is a new fantastic wine museum in town called WoW – Wine Museum. I was a little bit sceptic at first – I mean, there are already so many Port wine lodges in town, most of them with guided visits, so what could possibly a new Wine Museum add up? But the truth is that WoW – Wine Museum is a fantastic place for those of you that really want to learn not only about general wine production processes but also the different Portuguese wine regions.
Moreover, WoW – Wine Museum is a very interactive museum, where you’ll be able to take a few tests to discover what is your style of wine, what is the grape variety that best suits you, etc. It’s SO COOL.
At the end, a wine tasting that includes a red, a white and a 2018 LBV Port wine.
The online ticket to WoW – Wine Museum costs 20€ and you should get yours now!
More wine tasting in Porto: the best wine bars
For those of you who are not so found of Port wine (maybe you just haven’t found the right one… ;), there are some other cool options. Slowly but steadily wine is becoming increasingly popular and respected in the country, with proper wine bars where you can make a wine tasting in Porto.
These are perfect places to have a glass of wine to go along with some petiscos, such as creamy sheep cheese, Portuguese prosciutto or the traditional canned sardines.
And the best wine bars in Porto are…
Cais da Estiva, 111 | Porto
The Wine Quay Bar is definitely one of my favourite spots at the moment, as it is one of the few places for a proper wine tasting in Porto. It is a cozy wine bar, very close to Luiz I iron bridge, and facing the Port houses on the other side of the Douro river.
There you can find a short yet careful selection of wines from several wine regions, like Douro Valley, the Green Wine Region, Alentejo and more. The prices for a glass of wine range from 3,50€ to 7€, which is fairly reasonable, if the wines are good (which they are).
At the Wine Quay bar you have many petiscos to go along with your wine, such as a great selection of Portuguese cheeses and Portuguese canned fish (sardines, mackerel, codfish and anchovies) and, naturally, our amazing smoked meats.
How to get there: São Bento train station is a 10 minutes walking distance.
Travessa do Carregal, 77 | Porto
Capela Incomum is a cosy wine bar in Porto, and it has a rather unusual location: after all, it is built inside an old chapel that hasn’t been used for the past 50 years.
Given it’s intimate atmosphere, with candle lights and blues’ music, Capela Incomum is the perfect spot for a romantic date, and for those looking for a first wine tasting in Porto.
This wine bar has a short – and a bit predictable – wine list, mostly focused on wines from the Douro Valley. Here you can also find a few sparkling wines, green wines and also Port wine (even though from a single main stream brand – what a pity). To go along, you can pick some home made bruschettas, cheeses and sausages.
Capela Incomum may not be the best spot for wine connaisseurs, but it’s still a great choice for a wonderful night in Porto.
How to get there: Aliados subway station is a 10 minutes walking distance.
Rua de Ferreira Borges, 86 | Porto
Prova is yet another perfect wine bar for an intimate date in Porto.
Located right next to the red ironed Ferreira Borges market, this beautiful and discrete wine bar offers a small yet careful selection of wines (ranging from 4€ – 10€ / glass), as well as a superb cheese board.
At this place you can really ask the waiter for an advice on what wine to drink according to your palate, something that unfortunately is not that common in the city. For this particular reason, Prova is one of the best spots to make an introductory wine tasting in Porto.
How to get there: São Bento train station is a 10 minutes walking distance.
Rua Miguel Bombarda, 78 | Porto
If you dig more the natural wines, then Genuíno is the best wine bar in Porto for you!
It is a cute little wine bar that serves natural wines (a couple of them by the glass), and great tapas to share. The food menu changes every week and it always includes a soup, some delicious tapas, a couple of main dishes and desserts. All the wines are natural, and surprisingly good (yes, I am quite suspicious of natural wines in general :P). Moreover, the owners of Genuíno are genuinely happy to meet their customers.
Genuíno is growing very popular with locals and it has some strange opening hours, so I recommend you to book a table before heading there.
How to get there: Lapa and Aliados subway stations are a 15 minutes walking distance.
What about natural wines bars in Porto?
We the Portuguese don’t really care that much about natural wines; this being said, more and more wine producers in Douro Valley and other wine regions are producing wines with little intervention (particularly in the vineyards), and that translates into new natural wines’ bars opening up in our city.
In Porto, there are basically three decent natural wines’ bars: Genuíno, that I already mentioned above, but also A Cave do Bon Vivant and Gito Wines.
Buying wines in Porto: best supermarket options
If you would like to do a more unpretentious or intimate wine tasting in Porto, you might as well just buy a good bottle of wine at a wine store or at the supermarket.
Regarding wine stores, you can find good Portuguese wines at the traditional groceries stores in Porto, as well as at wine stores such as Gota a Gota or Universo Carmim.
If you don’t want to take the time to go to a wine store, you can simply go to the supermarkets – it is possible to find some really good value for the money wines! And, of course, I am here to help you pick some 🙂
As for Douro wines that you can find in the supermarket, these are some red wines that you can easily find in the supermarket for 4€ – 10€:
As for Green Wines, my recommendations are:
- RUN AWAY from the most popular brands such as Gazela, Muralhas de Monção, Mateus Rosé, etc. These are not wines, they’re rubbish.
Above all, forget about the nonsense that Alvarinho is the best grape in the Green Wine Region, and that Touriga Nacional is the best in Portugal. Those dogmas make no sense. Be brave enough to try new flavours, new grape varieties, new regions: discover your own palate, go for great wine tastings in Porto, discover the amazing world of the Portuguese wines! 🙂