The clock is ticking! We are counting the days until the next time we can enjoy the most exciting time of the year in the Wine Universe: The Harvest Season. If you are a wine lover, a visit to the Douro Valley during the Harvest should definitely be on your bucket list.
I visited the Douro Valley for the first time 5 years ago and since then I can’t help going there every year. I found its beauty in the slopes, the astonishing views, in the Douro Valley vineyards, its fresh grapes, the winding roads, the charming wineries, and, most important, in the warm people. I recall with much happiness and Saudade (a Portuguese word that means longing for someone or something that is absent) the unforgettable moments I enjoyed with my loved ones and I cannot wait to return to recharge batteries. It is time for you to create fond memories, enjoy delicious Porto wine tastings, and undoubtedly that the Douro Valley is the perfect scenario.
The Harvest Season occurs in September and October, when air connections are expected to be fully established again, following the progress of the vaccination, allowing safe and smooth travels. Still hesitant? Well, we’ve got you covered! Our bookings are totally flexible and guarantee preferred rates for Harvest Season requests from February to June of 2021.
I have gathered the most unique experiences and designed a lovely 3-day tour in the Douro for you, who wish to reconnect with the world, taste wonderful wines, learn about the traditions, relax at fascinating properties, and get to know better the wineries of the Douro Valley.
Before sharing the itinerary, please remember this major advice: Let’s leave the driving to professional drivers! The roads in the Douro Valley are hilly and winding and the GPS signal is not the best. Therefore, I always recommend private driver assistance. You can count on a local licensed professional, who is ready to provide the necessary insights, allowing a smooth and stress-free tour.
DAY 1 | Hands (and feet) on the Grapes!
On the first day in the Douro Valley, you will have the opportunity to experience the routine of a true Harvest Day, this is considered one of the most authentic experiences offered in the Portuguese wine tours. No actors or artificial scenarios! You will be part of a secular tradition and learn through a fun process the production steps to create our renowned wine. Discover one of the most emblematic wineries in the region: Quinta da Pacheca. You will be given a straw hat, tobacconist scarf, cutting scissors, and a bucket. Now you are ready to take action! In the morning try the traditional snack Mata-Bicho, which is composed of onion soup and baked sardines on a slice of cornbread with olive oil, served with wine. Don’t forget the fun part of pressing the grapes in the Lagares. An authentic and cheerful moment!
Give a chance to charismatic accommodation options, where you will feel special. The extraordinary part is that you have the possibility to put aside the ordinary hotels and overnight at magnificent wine estates, with the high-quality service level and a charming vibe. I am absolutely in love with Quinta de Ventozelo, one of the oldest and most beautiful Wineries in the Douro. The property has passed through different hands down the centuries, each molding and transforming it into what it is today. Despite the adaptation to the hotel, this winery has maintained its roots and guarantees an authentic experience to the guests. There is an elegant and singular accommodation, extensive vineyards, a great restaurant, an infinite pool… What more can we ask for?
This evening, enjoy a delightful dinner with wine pairing at the enchanting restaurant, Cantina de Ventozelo. This is the place where, in the old days, the meals were served to the farmworkers at Quinta de Ventozelo. Today, the house was renovated as a very special Restaurant, that maintains its role of giving life to local gastronomy and traditional recipes.
DAY 2 | Winemaker for a Day
Today, appreciate the unique experience of creating your own wine in a special and flawless wine journey. We invite you to enter the world of wine and become a winemaker for a day, through an experience that seeks to highlight one of the main factors of success of the Portuguese wine – the art of blending wines. Quinta Nova Nossa Senhora do Carmo will welcome you to the ultimate wine activity, starting with a private guided tour to the Winery and Wine Museum Center Fernanda Ramos Amorim. The magic will happen through the batch creation, bottling, corking, and the creation of the image and label of the bottle you will take home with you. So much dedication and creativity can result in a craving for delicious food! It is lunchtime and you will be delighted with a 3-course menu, at Terraçus Restaurant, harmonized with the Winemaker’s suggestion of wines.
After lunch, discover the beauty of Quinta do Noval, a historic winery that produces iconic and excellent wines since the beginning of the 18th century. The visits always start under the large centenary cedar tree! In the cellar, filled with old wooden barrels you will feel like you are traveling in time. Honestly, it is hard not to fall in love with the charm of Quinta do Noval. The private tour will culminate with a lectured wine tasting.
If you still have some energy left and would not refuse a special dinner, you can have the opportunity to have a meal at one of the best restaurants in Douro Valley, in fact, this rewarded restaurant was mentioned in publications such as The New York Times. Are you curious? Email me (or call me) for more details!
DAY 3 | Vintage Cruise
To perfectly end your stay in the Valley, there is nothing better than the Douro river cruises. Indulge in a peaceful moment marked by the serenity of the Douro River and the superb landscape of the Douro slopes. Do not wait any longer to experience the sensation of winding the river on board our Vintage 66’ boat with Lunch Served on Board. Just imagine enjoying an amazing meal on board a vintage boat! For me, it is an unmissable 4-hour cruise with the advantage of being completely private for you and your partner, family, or friends! The best way to end your tour is by celebrating love with exclusivity and absorbing the tranquillity provided by nature.
If you feel inspired and wish to make your travel dreams come true this Harvest Season, I will be delighted to help you plan a fabulous wine tour in the Douro. Join me on a video call and I will guide you through the process. Leave the logistics to me and travel with complete peace of mind. Special amenities, preferred rates, flexible policies, high-touch personalized service, and travel safety advice – we have you covered for you to enjoy the best wine and food tours in Portugal, more than ever!