Porto, o Oporto, is a lovely city in which to spend a couple of days during which, to fully understand the history and spirit of the city, one cannot avoid visit to the cellars to taste one or more of those wines that have made the city famous all over the world to say the least.
This very particular type of wine was born in the Douro Valley, but it is the city of Porto that gives it its name. Why? Because this is where the wine ages and is shipped all over the world. A visit to the Port wine cellars is a mandatory activity on any trip to Porto.
La visit to the port cellars it can take only an hour or even a whole day away, it depends on how many you decide to see and we have chosen 7 (after all, could you expect something different from me?) ending the day in a pitiful state returning home on my elbows but happy as Easter.
THE BEST CELLARS WITH GUIDED TOUR AND TASTING INCLUDED
- Burmester Winery ☞ See all information on visiting Burmester or make a reservation
- Cantina Calem ☞ See all the information on the visit of the Calem winery or book (visit in English)
- Puddles Canteen ☞ See all the information on visiting the Poças winery or book
The port cellars are located in Villa Nova de Gaia a district south of the city of Porto and on the opposite bank of the Douro River from it.
Villa Nova de Gaia (also known only as Gaia) is famous precisely for its cellars, where Port wine is kept in large barrels and aged and of which the visit has become one of the experiences not to be missed during a tour of the city .
Getting to Gaia and the cellars is really simple, just walk across the bridge Dom Luis, bridge built by none other than Eiffel, (builder of the famous tower of the same name in Paris and also built in iron boards and bolts) and go down on the opposite bank of the Douro, exactly in front of the Riverside, the most famous district of Porto.
- Meaning of the port
- Port cellars, which one to choose?
- 1 - Burmester Winery
- 2 – Cantina Calem
- 3 – Puddles Canteen
- 4 – Cantine Sandeman
- 5 – Cantine Ferreira
- 6 – Cantine Offley
- 7 - Cantine Quevedo
- 8 – Cantine Taylor’s
- Map of the Port Cellars
Warning! Civitatis offers a FREE tour of Porto which you need to sign up for.
The traditional boats with which in the past the wine was brought up the river to the cellars of Porto
Meaning of the port
The port it is a fortified wine of Portuguese origin and production obtained from an incomplete fermentation, obtained by adding wine alcohol: this process interrupts the transformation of sugars into alcohol, leaving the wine a particularly sweet taste.
The port is mainly divided into 4 basic types which are:
White: young and fruity, classified according to its degree of sweetness: dry, semi-dry, sweet. Excellent as an aperitif.
Ruby: ruby red wine that ages in large barrels: thanks to this the wine has little contact with wood and maintains its initial characteristics. The scent recalls the aromas of berries and plums, the flavor is fruity, typical of young wines.
Tawny: tawny wine ages initially in large barrels, such as white and ruby, but then it is transferred to smaller barrels where a particular aging process occurs due to contact with wood and greater oxidation.
It has an amber color and a particular, complex flavor, with hints of dried fruit, but also of chocolate, cinnamon or coffee.
Vintage: certainly the most valuable, obtained from grapes of excellent quality. It is initially aged in barrels and then transferred into bottles where it is subjected to further aging that can last up to 40 or 50 years.
The barrels in which the Port is aged
Port cellars, which one to choose?
Choose the visit at port cellars It is not easy since there are so many of them, from small family-run and quieter ones, to larger, more famous and above all more touristic ones: practically every producer offers guided tours in various languages with tasting in tow.
Our choice was not dictated by an in-depth study before leaving, but we let ourselves be guided by inspiration and above all by having found absolutely affordable packages.
Sandeman, Ferreira e Offley offer a package to visit all three wineries at a lower price than what individual visits would cost, Calem is sold as a package with the boat tour on the Douro and Quevedo for those who buy this package it is free.
At this link you can find the tour that includes tasting and boat trip on the Douro.
There are many other famous producers such as Taylor's, Ramos Pinto, Kopke and Graham's, but unfortunately due to lack of time we have had to postpone a future trip together with visit to the Douro Valley where the grapes from which the famous wine is obtained are grown and which is located much further north but reachable by a day trip by boat on the river.
1 - Burmester Winery
One of the best new wineries in Porto is the Burmester Winery.
The Burmester Museum and Cellar are built in a privileged location overlooking the River Douro and the historic Luis I Bridge. Tours to Caves Burmester include a guided tour of the Cellar Museum, where you can learn about the peculiarities of the Port, and ends with the tasting of three excellent Port wines paired with the best chocolates.
Enter this winery and museum in Porto it's like going back in time.
Burmester should be chosen, not only because it is beautiful, but also because it is one of the few that offers the visit.
Taking part in a guided tour in English is essential to learn all about the history and the production process of the brand if you don't speak other languages, or in any case, let's face it, it's much easier for us not to miss anything that we are told.
La visit lasts about 1 or 2 hours and begins with the story of the family: from 1750, when Henry Burmester collaborated with John Nash to create Burmester, Nash & Co and began exporting Port wine throughout Europe.
The visit then continues with a visit to the barrels of different sizes.
At the end you will go to the wine shop and tasting room to taste two types of port, an Extra dry white and a Vintage LBV from 2015.
Actually you can choose, depending on the tour whether to taste two or 3 wines.
If you want, you can also relax on the terrace overlooking the Douro River.
☞ See all information on visiting Burmester or book HERE
Address: Vila Nova de Gaia
Visiting hours: open every day of the year except December 25th and January 1st
April-October: 10am to 19pm (last visit at 18pm) November to March: 30am to 10pm (last visit at 18pm)
2 – Cantina Calem
Barrels in the cellars of Porto Calem
Le cellars of Porto Calem they were the first we visited and although they are much smaller than the Sandeman and Ferreira, it is still a very pleasant visit.
Before visiting the actual cellars, you pass through a couple of rooms with panels on the history of the port, on how it is produced and its differences with Douro wine in the fermentation process, all accompanied by old photographs taken in various eras of the grape harvest in the Douro valley.
You can book the guided tour (with tasting of two types of wine) at the Calem cellars by clicking below:
☞ See all the information on the visit of the Calem winery or book HERE
☞ Book a visit to the cellars with tasting and fado show here
Address: Avenida Diogo Leite, 26
Opening Hours: From May to October: every day, from 10am to 00pm
From November to April: every day, from 10am to 00pm
* Last visit: one hour before closing
Price: General ticket: 12 €.
3 – Puddles Canteen
Another of Porto's wineries not to be missed is undoubtedly a visit to the Puddles Canteen (HERE the reviews on Tripadvisor): it is little known but for this reason you can live a less touristy and more local experience.
Poças is in the hands of the fourth generation of owners, being one of the very few port wine companies that was born Portuguese and still belongs to the same Portuguese family.
Another reason to choose it is that it offers the guided tour in English.
The winery is family-run (compared to others that are now almost multinationals) and this is another plus point.
Here, too, during the visit, which lasts about 50 minutes, you will be able to see the barrels and discover the process by which Port wine is created.
After the visit you can taste various wines (also included in the price). You can choose between 4 different types of tasting, depending on the tour you choose (the tours are the same, the price varies according to which type of tasting you choose)
The 3 standard wines are:
- White Port
- Late Bottled Vintage
- Porto Tawny aged 10 years
☞ See all the information on visiting the Poças winery or book HERE
Address: R. Visc. das Devesas 168, 4401-901 Vila Nova de Gaia
4 – Cantine Sandeman
Probably the cantina Sandeman is one of the port producers that we all know and one of the most famous of all.
The guided tour is carried out in various languages, but we have joined the English one for a matter of time.
Among the available options, the price of which depends on the quality and quality of the wine you intend to taste at the end, we have chosen the classic visit (13 euros), which includes the guided tour and the tasting of two types of port, one white and one ruby.
Our guide, a girl dressed in the cloak (called donation and worn by university students in Portugal) and the sombrero that represent the symbol of the Sandeman brand, speaks excellent English and the visit to the cellars is very comprehensive.
During the visit the individual types of wine are explained in detail, how they are obtained, the fermentation and aging processes, how the barrels are made and how temperature and humidity are always kept constant throughout the year.
At the end there is also a small video.
In the elegant tasting room we are offered two types of port, a white and a ruby and the second will be the one that I will have liked most of all at the end of the day.
Address: Miguel Bombarda Square, 3
Timetables: From March to October: every day, from 10:00 to 20:00
From November to February: every day, from 10.00 to 18
* Last visit one hour before closing
- Classic tour: € 13
- Tour Premium: 16€
- Tour 1790: 22€
- Tour Old Tawnies: 40€
5 – Cantine Ferreira
Probably together with Sandeman the most beautiful winery of all, too the cantina Ferreira produces port of the highest quality: just think that the most expensive vintage port bottle (a bottle from 1815) in the world was sold by them for more than 6000 British pounds!
The cellar is very beautiful, articulated on several levels connected by dark corridors, the explanation is complete and exhaustive and the guide speaks excellent English.
At the end of the visit to the cellars there is also a small and interesting museum and the tasting room is quieter than that of Sandeman (where we met many more tourists, probably belonging to organized groups)
Address: Rua da Carvalhosa
Timetables: Every day, from 10:00 to 12:30 and from 14:00 to 18:00
- Classic tour: € 6
- Visit Casa Ferrreirinha: €10
- Visit Dona Antónia: € 16
- * Last visit: 1 hour before closing
6 – Cantine Offley
Sold in the package with the visit of the Sandeman and Ferreira cellars, le Cantine Offley they are smaller and certainly less touristy than the other two (3,5 euros).
The visit was faster and less detailed than the previous ones, but being few people participating, the atmosphere was peaceful and the silence of the winery engaging.
Tasting at the Offley cellars
Although it was also the last winery we visited and although we were a little tired (and a little drunk) we still enjoyed the two ports that were offered to us as a tasting.
Port tasting is also included in the visit to the Calem cellars and here too two types are offered, a white and a ruby.
7 - Cantine Quevedo
There is no actual visit at cantine Quevedo, but a small exhibition of panels that tell (little) about the history of the port and how it is produced.
The tasting in the cellars is included (free of charge) in the price of the cable car ticket: in the upper room a glass of port of your choice among 4 varieties is offered and to which with a few euros you can add a gastronomic taste paired with the chosen wine.
The place is pleasant, all in all being also free, it is worth going there. In the late afternoon, always free of charge, there is a fun and engaging performance of Fado music.
8 – Cantine Taylor’s
Le cantine Taylor’s they are 300 years old but have recently been refurbished to incorporate a modern and innovative museum. What was already excellent is now even better! Here, too, you will learn about the history of Port wine, how it was produced in the beginning compared to modern days, how it was brought to Porto to age and then shipped to Britain.
Like all the Port wine cellars that I have previously recommended, here too you can enjoy your wine tasting on the terrace while admiring the magnificent views over the city of Porto. You have to do some climbing to reach Rua do Choupelo but it's worth it!
☞ Book your visit to Taylor's Cellars here
Address: Rua do Choupelo, nº 250, 4400-088 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
cellars (moon-house): 11:00 - 18:00
Tasting Room and Shop (moon-house): 11:00 - 19:00
Restaurant: 12.30-15.00 // 19.00-22.00
Map of the Port Cellars
Below you will find the map with the addresses of the cellars of Porto we talked about in this article.
You can find the same map on Google Map by clicking here.