When the summer goes, the autumn comes in and with it the wine harvest begins just as the joy of this moment hits Portugal. So, this might be an exciting time to get the best of a wine tour. Apart from that, Portugal hosts the best wine travel destinations in the world, so don't leave our country without experiencing a delightful wine tasting tour.
Sure if you're not used to wine tastings or you're not a connoisseur, it can be a little bit intimidating. You'll wonder if the guides will use a lot of technical wine vocabulary or whether there are people in your group that knows each and every little bit of information that is to know about wine. But don't worry if you're not a master in wine flavors and varietals, you can still enjoy - most of the times, even more! - your wine experience.
1. Ask wine producers or guides for more information
Don't be afraid to ask. Guided tours are exactly the place where you can question and learn more about wine-making and how to taste wine. You may not identify every flavor and technical characteristics of the wine, but you will know if you enjoy it or not. And if you do, ask more about that wine, variety and process. Whether you're in a tour with a guide or at a farm with the actual owners and wine producers, everyone will be pleased to share their knowledge with you. After all it is their passion, and everyone loves to discuss and talk about what they enjoy. So don't be shy, everyone will appreciate your interest.
2. Take notes about your favorite wines
If you like a wine that you taste, after some tastings you won't know anymore which wine was that that made you crave for more. So if you want to go home and order that favorite wine at a restaurant (or avoid the ones you really didn't like) take some little notes so that you won't forget what pleased you the most. One useful tip for notes taking, according to Dr. Vinny from Wine Spectator, is to write it in a way that you can remember when you need. Alternatively, you can even take a picture of the bottle from the ones you really liked, so that will stay in your mind and in your registers for longer your wine tasting tour.
3. Ask for recommendations of the best restaurants nearby
Asking questions to the local guides and producers is not only important at the tour but also for other activities you can make nearby. Use their knowledge of the region to ask for recommendations for having a great meal. The best way to enjoy a sip of wine is with delicious food. So if you're tour doesn't include regional food tastings, lunch or dinner, sure they will recommend you the best restaurants in the region.
4. Take your time between one wine tasting and the other
If you're planning to have many visits in one day, make sure there is a certain time gap between them. It is recommended to consider the time spent between one place to the other. Nevertheless, wine tasting can be very fun and it's an activity where you should take your time to enjoy and not simply rush from one winery to the other. You will also find very friendly guides, wine makers and farm owners that will engage in happy conversations about wine and their products, so expect a visit to last more than an hour. Furthermore, every winery has a shop inside, so take some time to get to know the products and even buy the wine that you most enjoyed during your time so far. This will certainly help you to make the most out of your wine tasting tour.
5. Don't be afraid to taste new wines
Don't just stick to the wines you already know. Since you're at a winery, try some new, unfamiliar flavors and varietals. If you stick to the grapes you already know and enjoy, maybe you'll be missing out on some amazing regional varieties that you didn't even know they existed. If you favor red, take a sip also on the white, if you prefer the sweet ones, don't leave without tasting the drier ones. Don't go home with any regrets because it's probable that you won't be back anytime soon (but we hope you do!).
6. Be careful about perfumes and tastes before a tasting tour
Don't eat or drink something beforehand that might interfere with your taste or smell. Coffee, fruity or mint chewing gum or candy will interfere with your palate and you won't make the most out of your tasting. The same happens with heavy sweet perfumes, cigars or cigarettes. So please avoid using strong perfumes and smoking before you go to a tasting, so that you won't ruin your experience not only for you but for the other people in the room.
7. Choose your wine tour outfit carefully
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes so that you can stroll through the vineyards without getting your feet dusty or deal with a stingy pain or your toe. For women it is specially useful if you wear a low hill shoes to guarantee the comfort you need. If the tour is in the open sky, odds are that you will spend some time under the sun, so bring along a hat and sunglasses. It is also a must to wear dark clothes just in case you get over excited with your tasting and spit some wine on you clothes.
8. Show interest in buying a bottle of wine from the producer
Don't feel pressured to buy a bottle but at least show some interest. But if you do buy a bottle (or two, or more), don't leave it in a hot car for the day, even if you carefully keep them in the trunk. We recommend you buy a wine case beforehand so that the wine will be more protected from the heat and so that you won't deal with bottles rattling around in your car. Ask the producers or guides to recommend you a case or a way to cool your bottles in the car.
9. Book some transportation to and from the vineyard
If your tasting doesn't include transportation, make sure you choose a tour with a private driver. Chances are you will taste many types of wine and those little sips can add up to an amount. If you're not staying at the hotel or farm where the winery is, we are happy to provide you with transportation to and from your hotel.
In the end, the main piece of advice is: enjoy your wine tasting tour in Portugal! See our suggested wineries, vineyards and tastings in Portugal and just have fun.