Catching my breath in the Douro

It has been a whirlwind tour of the Douro this week so far, so much that I have not had the opportunity to do any more than post a few pictures, but it has turned out to be pretty much everything everyone has always promised it would be.

The objective of this trip was to bring a group of online communicators with different skills to the region to visit, learn, record and share experiences via our many online channels. The Douro may be well known to many traditional wine drinkers, but there are plenty more who have yet to discover its wine treasures. Fitting everything in is impossible, considering that the region has hundreds of years of history and covers a pretty vast, and challenging territory, but that’s exactly what makes it so intriguing.

View of the River Douro

View of the River Douro at Pinhao for #Douro12

Whatever your interest in wine, food, culture, travel or history, this region has something to offer and we’re going to try a bit of everything so we can tell others.

I shall post about all my favourite moments when I finally find a few moments in this incredibly hectic schedule to do so, but if you are interested, check out our Eventifier page which is doing a great job of pulling together our photos, tweets and more as we travel the windy roads of the Douro.

Amazing Porto ViewI shall always remember walking around Porto, the boat trip along the river, the Douro museum, the train journey to Ferradosa, the views about Pinhao, staying at Quinta Bomfin or the spectacular food at Restaurante DOC. Chief among these special moments will have to be the opportunity to pick grapes,then join a team to hand-destem the resulting bunches, and then the unique experience of foot treading in the lagar at Quinta da Leda.

And we’re not even finished yet (you can still follow along on the twitter hashtag #douro12)

As for the crew, I’m on a week-long trip around the Douro river valley with a great group of fellow bloggers.

The Wine Folly pairing of Madeline and Justin, have made it all the way from Seattle to bring a youthful American vigour to the group, as well as much needed video skills. It has been great to meet them and chat about the different ways they see Port and Douro wines from their market perspective compared to me in the UK.

The Urban Travel Blogger, Duncan Rhodes, is great fun and I really appreciate his perspective. Of course his main interest is travel, so he is learning a lot about the wine itself, and we (who claim to know stuff already) are learning from his straightforward questions.

The very passionate and knowledgable Tara Devon O’Leary, or Wine Passionista, who coincidentally was on my memorable trip to Croatia as well, is busy taking the best notes as well as filming herself for a video blog on the region.

And of course, Ryan Opaz from Catavino, who has helped to put this amazing trip to the Douro together so that we online writers may create some content to publish on that amazing source of information for Iberian wines.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the amazing help of the IVDP, the Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto, who worked with Catavino to devise a programme that would take us around some of the great houses, or Quintas, as well as the many experiences of the Douro – too many to list here today. Their support, from everyone all the way up to the President himself, Manuel de Novaes Cabral, has been a great privilege and one I hope to repay over the rest of my years as a wine blogger and Port & Douro wine lover.

I hope some of these images are already enough to tempt you to start your own plans to visit the region, or at the very least to go out and buy a bottle of Port.

Do let me know if you’ve been out here yourself and what you thought of the Douro and the wines, and what I may have missed.


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  • Wink Lorch
    September 28, 2012

    Sounds like an excellent trip. I’ve been a couple of times but don’t know the region really well.

    My first visit however, in about 1994, was unusual and truly memorable. I was working on ensuring accurate vineyard maps for Oz Clarke’s Wine Atlas: we found that the equivalent of ordnance survey maps were spectacularly out of date, and we had singularly failed (despite excellent contacts with the Houses) to get accurate information for our maps. So I got the go-ahead to go out there, accompanied by Joanna Delaforce as guide and interpreter to take photos of the vineyards in the main part of the Douro and its tributaries to give to our map artists. This was of course pre-digital. We spent 3 days cruising the roads and the vineyards, getting out of the car regularly with the ancient map, a compass, a note book and my snap camera, taking panoramas that later I stuck together.

    Fortunately the weather was gorgeous – it was a magical, unforgettable experience even if we ended up tasting/drinking very little port…. I’ve been back but all too briefly. Enjoy the rest of the trip, Robert and team!

    July 25, 2014

    wonderful trip This is brilliant Stunning background I am pleased you had a great time