Video:Tour of the Douro Wine Region of Portugalwith Milo De Prieto
When traveling to Portugal, a wine tour is one of the top attractions. Get an overview of Portugal's rugged and vibrant wine producing region, the Douro Valley, in this travel video from About.com.See Transcript
Transcript:Tour of the Douro Wine Region of Portugal
Hello, I'm Milo for About.com, and today we are talking about the Douro wine region of Portugal.
Overview of the Douro Wine Region of Portugal
There are many ways to explore this region from guided tours to boat rides. It's easy to fly into Porto and start there, renting a car or taking the easy metro to the center and joining one of the many tour options. The slopes of the Douro and its tributaries have been producing wine since Roman times if not before.
It is the first region to be regulated so as to ensure quality and consistency of its signature product, Port wine. Fortified with brandy during the fermentation process, it is typically drunk as a dessert wine. However, in recent decades certain restrictions have been lifted and various vineyards have begun to produce table wines to great results.
Planning a Wine Tour of the Douro Region
A wine tour is definitely in order. The estates that produce wine are called quintas. Also, given the fascinating history of the region, some of the biggest names in production are British or Dutch. The Portuguese have definitely established themselves as some of the premier wine producers of Europe and have a lot to show for their efforts. The rugged nature of the terrain, it's steep hills and winding roads has forced the local populace to be rather creative with wine production, developing various inventive ways to get vines to grow in difficult terrain.
Portuguese Wine-Producing Families
The wine producing families built great houses on their estates, many of which have been remolded into bed and breakfasts or boutique hotels with excellent restaurants. Everywhere you go you will see living history, many families have unbroken lines to famous figures in the past. For instance if you visit Morgadio Da Calçada (www.morgadiodacalcada.com), not only will you see the great manor house preserved and lived in by the same family that built it 400 years ago, but you can enjoy the local cuisine as well. Of course, while the manor houses may be classically preserved, the hotel rooms of many quintas are quite comfortable and modern.
Many boat tours start in Pinhao, but you will find numerous options in Porto as well. There are many idyllic villages and towns in the region, Amarante being particularly picturesque. It dates back to the 4th century and has some great architecture of various ages. The wine region stretches as far north as Vila Real and you'll find history and sights to explore all along the way.
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Quintas seen in the video: Casa da Calçada: www.casadacalcada.com, Quinta Nova: www.quintanova.com, and Quinta do Vallado: www.quintadovallado.com