Updated: June 6, 2024

While France, Italy, and Spain often steal the limelight when it comes to discussions about the finest wines, Portugal can certainly hold its own.

Portuguese wines are right up there as being some of the very best in the world, with the incredible climate the perfect location for wine production. The Douro Valley, in Northern Portugal, is considered to be one of the very best wine regions in the world, and alongside the fruity reds of the Alentejo, the expansive region that borders the well-known Algarve region, and you are sure to be in for a treat should you head to Portugal to delight in the glorious wines of the country.

In this article, we’ll explore the best regions for Portuguese wines and some top tips to find the very best wine tours and wine tasting experiences in the country.

A Brief History of Portuguese Wine

Douro Valley VineyardsPortugal and wine are intricately linked, with winemaking in the country dating back as far as 2000 BC, when the Tartessians were believed to have cultivated the first vineyards in the Tagus and Sado Valleys. Fast forward to the 10th Century BC and the Phoenicians took over the task, introducing new grape varieties. While wine production was initially concentrated in the south, the Greeks, Celts, and Romans later spread this craft across the country, enhancing winemaking techniques.

The Romans, well known for their love of wine, renamed the peninsula Lusitania after securing it. Their conquest modernized Portuguese viticulture by introducing advanced techniques and grape varieties and, due to the rising demand for wine in Rome, the Iberian Peninsula became a significant supplier.

Portugal’s wine trade with England began in the 12th Century, peaking in the 18th Century with Port wine’s popularity. Even today, the UK remains one of the biggest consumers of this fortified wine. Portugal’s EU membership in 1986 provided grants and modern winemaking techniques, boosting its wine industry. Today, Portuguese wines, particularly from Alentejo, Douro, and Vinho Verde, are internationally acclaimed, reflecting its long-standing winemaking heritage, with Portugal behind only France, Spain, and Italy in the number of awards their wines have received.

Major Portugal Wine Regions

Portugal boasts an ideal climate for winemaking and numerous scenic wine regions. Some of the most acclaimed are the following, with Douro and Alentejo wines particularly favored.  

  • Douro: Known for its red and white wines, this UNESCO World Heritage site produces some of the most acclaimed wines in Portugal, while also being home to Port wine, a fortified wine produced in the Douro Valley. The Douro River runs through it, leading to the famous aging cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, opposite Porto. 
  • Dão: Located south of Douro, it’s famed for deep red wines from Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional, as well as excellent whites like Encruzado. 
  • Alentejo: Occupying over a third of continental Portugal, Alentejo’s warm, dry climate produces internationally recognized wines. It’s often rated as a top wine region to visit, producing more fruity wines than those produced in the Douro region.  
  • Vinho Verde: Situated in Minho province, north of Porto, this DOC (Controlled Denomination of Origin) region produces young wines released shortly after harvest. It’s not a grape variety but a designated wine area. Vinho Verde, meaning “green wine” in Portuguese provides a light, crisp wine, perfect for those warm late summer nights. 
  • Algarve: A popular expat destination with fertile land for vineyards, the Algarve has seen a rise in world-class wine production. Notably, Sir Cliff Richard once owned a vineyard here. 
  • Barriada: Bairrada is a DOC of the Beiras region in the center-north of Portugal, known for deep, rich reds made from Rufete, Braga, and Castelão grapes. 
  • Madeira: The autonomous island of Madeira produces some of the finest sweet wines in the world, with the island offering several wine tour options to enjoy its unique taste.  

Top Portugal Wine Tours

From Lisbon to Porto, you’ll find a wide selection of wine tours in Portugal. Below, we provide you with some of our favorite options.  

  • Douro Valley tour: This is one of the most popular wine tours in Portugal, offering breathtaking scenery and excellent wine tasting. A typical tour includes visits to multiple vineyards, a traditional Portuguese lunch, and a river cruise on the Douro River. Options include small-group tours and more intimate experiences, all highly rated for their comprehensive and enjoyable itineraries.  
  • Quinta de Lourosa in Vinho Verde region: Located in the Minho region, known for its light and crisp wines, this tour includes vineyard visits, wine tastings, and food pairings. This is an ideal choice for those who appreciate refreshing lighter wines.
  • Alentejo wine tour: This region, covering a vast area of Portugal, is famous for its robust red wines and beautiful rolling landscapes. Tours often include visits to historic estates, tastings of both red and white wines, and insights into the region’s wine-making traditions. The warm climate and diverse terroir make Alentejo a unique wine destination.  
  • Porto wine tour: Porto is synonymous with Port wine, and a tour here typically includes visits to a historic wine cellar in Vila Nova de Gaia. You’ll learn about the production of Port, enjoy tastings of different types of Porto, including red wine, white wine, and rosé port wines. 
  • Lisbon wine tour: If you are based in the Portuguese capital, then you’ll find several of the best wine tastings and tour options, many of which also include food and wine pairings and allow you to compare wines from the different regions in Portugal. 

Wine Tasting Experiences in Portugal

luxury-quinta-wine-hotel-portugalWine tours in Portugal are special experiences. The tour itself will depend on the tour company that you opt for, although most are interactive experiences where you will learn about – and taste some – of the different wines in the country or region.

Wine tasting can be found in cities such as Lisbon and Porto, or if you are looking to get out into the heart of the Portuguese countryside, you will find that many wine estates and vineyards in the country also provide wine-tasting experiences, particularly in wine regions such as the Douro Valley and the Alentejo regions. Other wine-tasting experiences in Lisbon and Porto can include guided tours where the local guide will provide a history of the city with wine tasting.

Many wine tastings will also come with a food and wine pairing, where you will be able to try different wines accompanied by local cheeses, meats, bread and olive oil, and other local produce. Some will even include gourmet dining experiences, where each food course comes with the perfect wine accompaniment, perfect to discover the very best of Portuguese gastronomy.

There is also a rising increase in organic wines, and you’ll find several wine tastings focused on natural and organic wines that provide unique experiences, such as where you can enjoy orange wine and other uncommon wine types alongside a carefully curated selection of innovative dishes, such as SEM in Lisbon.

Unique Wine Experiences in Portugal

If you are looking to go one step further than simply learning about and trying different wines, there is now an increased interest in eco-tourism and wine tourism, where you will be able to participate in the harvesting process and in the old local traditions of the wine-making process, for example in grape stomping or grape treading.

This is part of the method of maceration used in traditional winemaking, and although it is much more common now to use mechanical means, there remain several wineries in Portugal, particularly in the Douro Valley, that allow you to assist in this part of the process and ensuring a memorable experience. There are also options to combine learning about the best wines in Portugal with a cooking class, the better learn about Portugeuse gastronomy.

Tips for Planning Your Portugal Wine Tour

There is a wide selection of wine tour options from the north to the south of the country. From gourmet dining experiences, historic walking tours that merge wine tasting with the city’s history, and leisurely experiences in the countryside. Whichever option you choose, you’ll want to be best prepared to enjoy the experience to the maximum. Below are some of our top tips!

Best time of the year to visit

For a delightful Portugal wine tour, the best times to visit are spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). During these periods, the weather is pleasant, and the vineyards are either coming to life or showcasing the harvest season. Notably, visiting the harvest festivals in September offers a unique cultural and sensory experience, allowing visitors to partake in grape picking and stomping.

GC-ICON-88Booking tips and recommendations

Wine tours and wine-tasting experiences have become a centerpiece of Portugal tourism. Selecting the right wine tour involves considering your preferences for winery size, the types of wine you enjoy, and additional activities offered. Opt for tours that include tastings, vineyard walks, and insights into wine production. Smaller group tours or private tour experiences provide a more intimate and personalized touch, and you’ll find many of these in larger cities and in areas where wine tourism is more common.

To find some of the top-rated tours, commit to research and check out which tour companies have reviews with five stars; also, work out how the tour will fit into your schedule. Some tour companies, for example, will offer airport transfers, a boat ride, or day trips where you can explore different historical cities and charming villages and get to the heart of Portuguese culture. We also recommend booking in advance as wine tours are a highlight of a wonderful trip to Portugal and can easily get overbooked.

Travel and accommodation

If you are looking to stay in a charming wine region such as the Douro Valley, Alentejo, and Vinho Verde, there is a wide array of accommodation types, including luxurious wine estates to cozy boutique hotels. Transportation options include renting a car for flexibility, where you’ll be able to explore Portugal on your own time schedule, or booking guided tours with transportation included.

Interested in having your very own vineyard?

Find out more Arrow Icon

Frequently Asked Questions about Portugal Wine Tours and Wine Tasting

The best wine tours in Portugal’s Douro Valley include visits to renowned wineries like Quinta do Crasto, Quinta da Pacheca, and Quinta do Seixo. These tours offer picturesque views, guided tastings, and insights into the country and traditional wine-making processes.

To choose a guided wine tour in Alentejo, consider factors like local winery reputation, tour inclusions (tastings, meals), and customer reviews. Look for tours that visit top wineries such as Herdade do Esporão and Cartuxa.

Yes, Portugal offers family-friendly wine tours that include activities for children, such as vineyard picnics and grape stomping. Quinta da Aveleda, in the north of Portugal, and Adega Mãe in Torres Vedras, are known for their welcoming, enjoyable, family-oriented experiences.

A typical wine tour in Portugal includes guided vineyard visits, tastings of various wines, a tour of a wine cellar, and insights into the wine-making process. Some tours also include food pairings and transportation.

Yes, vegan and organic wine tours are available in Portugal. Wineries like Casa de Mouraz and Herdade dos Outeiros Altos offer tours focused on organic and sustainable wine production practices.

Luxury wine tours in Portugal typically cost between €150 and €500 per person. These tours often include private tastings, gourmet meals, and exclusive visits to prestigious wineries. The price will depend on the length of the tour and what is included in the tour. Some wineries also have accommodation, which will obviously boost the price but provide you with an unforgettable experience.

To book a private wine tour in Portugal, visit the websites of tour service providers or contact them directly via email or phone. Reputable companies like Wine Tourism in Portugal offer customizable private tour packages.

Top-rated wine tour companies in Portugal include Wine Tourism in Portugal and most of the Port wine houses in Vila Nova de Gaia have excellent ratings, many of which allow you to try exclusive Porto wines, such as rosé Port wine.

Yes, many wine tours in Portugal include food pairings. Herdade do Esporão, for example, offers gourmet meals that complement and highlight the flavors of the wines, enhancing the tasting experience.

To plan a wine tour itinerary in Portugal, start by selecting the wine regions you wish to visit, such as Douro Valley, Alentejo, or Vinho Verde. Research top wineries, book tours in advance, and arrange transportation. Check out reviews to see which option could be best suited to you.

The best places for wine tasting in Porto include the famous port wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, such as Sandeman and Cálem. These cellars offer tours and tastings of premium port wines.

During a wine-tasting session in Portugal, expect a guided introduction to the wines, tastings of different varieties, and explanations of their characteristics and different wine regions. Sessions can often include a tour of the local winery and its facilities if you go on a wine tasting tour outside the city.

Most wine tasting tour operators will speak English and many offer various other languages. To find English-speaking wine-tasting tours in Portugal, look for tours offered by well-known wineries or tour companies.

Vini Portugal offers a complimentary wine-tasting service at Praça do Comércio, in Lisbon. It is an exchange organization promoting Portuguese wines, schnapps, and vinegar in both local and international markets. Each week, they present a selection of wines from various regions of Portugal for the public to enjoy.

For beginners, the best wine-tasting experiences in Portugal are those that offer educational tours and tastings. Wineries like Quinta Nova and Herdade do Rocim provide beginner-friendly sessions, while you will find tours in Lisbon and Porto that provide a good overview of Portuguese wines.

You’ll find many fantastic wine-tasting tours in the Portuguese capital, such as Lisbon Winery. Whether you are looking for wine tastings with food pairings, a gourmet restaurant experience where each course focuses on different wine types or a wine tour where you can learn about the history of the city while trying various wines, there are many options.

Top vineyards for wine tasting in Portugal include Quinta do Crasto, Quinta da Pacheca, and Herdade do Esporão. These vineyards are renowned for their excellent wines and beautiful settings.

Portuguese wine tastings commonly feature a variety of wines, including red wines like Touriga Nacional, white wines like Alvarinho, and port wines. Tastings often showcase the unique grape varieties and flavors of each region.

Wine tasting sessions in Portugal usually last between 1 to 2 hours, although they can be longer. This includes a tour of the winery, guided tastings, and often some time to explore the vineyard or wine shop.

Yes, Portugal hosts several wine tasting festivals, such as Essência do Vinho in Porto, the best wine experience in Portugal, and the Alentejo Wine Festival. These events offer extensive tastings, workshops, and opportunities to meet winemakers.