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Once upon a time a local man, named Francisco Ferreira, had a dream! He wanted to own his very own vineyard in the beautiful Douro Valley.

quinta-do-popa-view

Francisco, nicknamed Pôpa, was the illegitimate son of a wealthy winemaker and his veins were filled with the wine and soil of the Douro.

Pôpa worked hard and helped his mother on his father’s vineyard by carrying grape filled baskets to the old lagares (wine presses).  Pôpa was a simple soul but lived in sadness, hoping that one day his father would recognize him as his child.  All the while Francisco dreamed of owning his own estate and producing his own wine, a dream he never managed to fulfill in life.

In 2003, however, his son, José Ferreira, also known as Zeca do Pôpa, fulfilled the dream of his father, a dream that had also been passed on to him.

He started to put together smallholdings, common in the agricultural structure of northern Portugal, and acquire small plots of mostly old vineyards, as well as planting new vines and olive groves. The vines, being planted on the terraced hills above the magnificent Douro River, were blessed with a favorable climate and a high quality soil.

A true vineyard was formed, a vineyard in one of the best locations in the oldest recognized wine region of the world, and he named the vineyard in honor of his father, Quinta do Pôpa!

Built with both great economic effort and enthusiasm, the first harvest took place in 2007.

Today, Francisco’s grandchildren, Stéphane and Vanessa Ferreira, head the team at Quinta do Pôpa and keep the wheels turning with enthusiasm, charisma and commitment for producing signature wines in the family name.

 

The estate now occupies 30 hectares of land, 14 of which are vineyards. Both sophisticated techniques and traditional methods are used and despite the short number of years that Quinta do Pôpa has been active; this young estate has now established itself as a quality winemaker!

Red, White and Rosé wines are produced with love and precision and some innovative and special edition products will delight your senses such as:

QUINTA DO PÔPA HOMENAGEM: The tribute of tributes, named in honor of Francisco Ferreira! This powerful and robust red demonstrates good structure and complexity.

PÔPA TINTO DOCE:  The 1st Sweet Red Wine from the Douro which is a tribute to the women of the Pôpa Family.

PÔPA VV:  made exclusively out of the old vines, aged over 80 years, and trodden by foot, this complex red wine is simply called VV, for Vinhas Velhas (old vines).

A fascinating history, warm welcome, fantastic views and great wines await you at Quinta do Pôpa!

We will be delighted to include a visit to Quinta do Pôpa for you in your private customized tour itinerary or in any of our sample itineraries that take in the beautiful Douro Valley, Portugal.

Douro Valley, Portugal

  • The Douro Valley is Port Wine Country
  • The region is located in the North of Portugal
  • The Douro “vinhateiro” winegrowing area of the Douro Valley is a designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Port and DOC Douro wines are made only with native grape varieties.
  • Authentic port is made at ‘quintas’ (estates) along a narrow river gorge that winds 100 miles through the mountain ranges
  • There are over 200 Quintas in the Douro Valley
  • Port Wine produced in the Douro Valley was once shipped downriver to the city of Porto in sailboats called ‘barcos rabelos’
  • The terraces of vines in the Douro Valley were introduced by the Romans in the third century A.D
  • Spring and fall are mild, with daytime temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees
  • The grape harvest season starts in September
  • The valley was the first demarcated wine-producing region in the world established in 1756
  • The River Douro rises in Spain and flows across Northern Portugal reaching the sea at Oporto

 

More about Portugal:

Some fascinating facts about Portugal

Fascinating Facts about Lisbon

Fascinating Facts about Porto

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Visit the beautiful Douro Valley and more in Portugal on one of our private Portuguese Culture, Food and Wine Tours to see the wonderful vineyards and fascinating culture of this country, taste port wine, local foods and much, much more!

Portugal is divided into 14 Regional Wine areas : Vinho Verde, Trás-os-Montes, Porto and Douro, Távora-Varosa, Bairrada, Dão, Beira Interior, Lisboa, Tejo, Península de Setúbal, Alentejo, Algarve, Açores and Madeira.

Portuguese wine is then categorized using the ‘DOC’ (Denominação de Origem Controlada) system meaning Controlled Denomination of Origin. Portugal has 31 DOCs/DOPs.  At the moment, both the traditional terminology of DOC and the new pan-European “DOP” are used. DOP (Denominação de Origem Protegida) means Protected Denomination of Origin. The “DOC/DOP” system is similar to the Denominación de Origen “DO” system of Spain, the Appellation d’origine contrôlée “AOC” system of France and the Denominazione di origine controllata “DOC” of Italy.

In the Douro there are separate DOCs  for unfortified wine and for Port, although geographically they both lie within the same  boundaries.

Douro Valley

DOURO VALLEY

The Douro Valley, Portugal, is considered one the most spectacular wine regions of the world with its terraced vineyards on sloping hills that meet the meandering River Douro below as it cuts through the mountains. The characteristic terraces of vines in the Douro Valley were introduced by the Romans in the third century A.D and the Douro “vinhateiro” wine-growing area of the Douro Valley is now a designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The soil in which the Douro Valley vines are planted is made up of schist, a slate-like metamorphic rock.  Rich in nutrients, it also has useful water retention properties.

Long famous as the source of Port Wine, the authentic port wine is made at ‘quintas’ (estates) along a narrow river gorge that winds 100 miles through the mountain ranges and was once shipped downriver to the city of Porto in sailboats called ‘barcos rabelos’. But, the Douro Valley not only produces fortified wine.  Around the same amount of  unfortified wine is produced and is renowned for its fine and rich red and white wine.

The Douro wine region of Portugal is divided into three sub-regions: Baixo Corgo, Cima Corgo and Douro Superior from west to east respectively. The further east, the drier the climate becomes and the deeper the wines. The Cima Corgo, which includes the towns of Pinhão, São João da Pesqueira and Tua, is the heart of fine port production and where also many of today’s fine unfortified wines are produced.

  • The Baixo Corgo lies at the western end, closest to the Marão mountains, where the rainfall and vineyard yields are highest. This area mainly produces the lighter more early maturing styles of Port intended to be drunk relatively young.
  • The Cima Corgo area is the location of many of the Douro’s finest vineyards and produces more concentrated and long lasting wines.
  • The Douro Superior is the easternmost area and is the driest of all making it the source of many of the finest Vintage Ports.
Douro DOC

Main white Douro Valley grapes:

  • Viosinho, Malvasia Fina, Gouveio, Rabigato, Côdega, Donzelinho Branco, Esgana Cão and Folgazão

 

Main red Douro Valley grapes:    

  • Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (Aragonez), Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, Tinto Cão, Sousão, Bastardo, Mourisco Tinto, Castelão, Rufete, Tinta Amarela (Trincadeira) and Tinta Francisca

 

Just some of the World class Quintas that you could be visiting in the Douro Valley:

Quinta do Crasto –  Sitting in a privileged location in the Douro Demarcated Region, this Quinta is famous for its sophisticated wines as well as for the dramatic views. This single vineyard property dates as far back as the early seventeenth century, long before the Douro became the world’s first demarcated wine region in 1756

Quinta do Seixo – Sandeman’s flagship, and a most exclusive port winery, of the most important Port wine producer. This Winery is beautifully maintained and picturesquely located just down the river from Pinhao, with gorgeous views of Pinhao.

Quinta do Panascal  – This majestic quinta, whose reputation goes back to the 18th century, is located on the banks of the river Távora. It is the most important estate of the prestigious Port Wine Company “Fonseca Guimaraens”.

Quinta de la Rosa – Quinta de la Rosa is unusual in the way that they do everything in the Douro. Most port houses make their port in the Douro but store and bottle it in Vila Nova da Gaia, in Porto. Here, you will be able to see both wine and port making processes side by side.

 

port

PORT WINE

Port Wine is a wine that was developed in Portugal by the British.  It is a by product of their battles with France through the 17th and 18th centuries. The English finally decided to boycott French wine in the late 17th century  and began sourcing their red wine from Portugal. They started to add a drop of Brandy to the still wine so that it would arrive in England after the long trip on a rocky boat without spoiling. This addition of the brandy not only gave the wine the strength to survive the journey but it also made the wine considerably sweeter when it was added early enough to stop fermentation.

Today, Port wine ferments for only 2 to 3 days, has brandy added, and then is aged in wooden barrels. How long it ages determines the taste and how sweet the wine is.

The base  for Port is made and fortified in wineries in the Douro Valley, then transported to the Port lodges of Vila Nova de Gaia, opposite Porto, at the mouth of the river, for ageing. Here, the ageing and blending of most of the world’s supply of Port wine takes place beneath a sea of red roofs emblazoned with some of the most famous names in wine-making. Rabelo boats were traditionally used to carry the wine down the river from Douro to the lodges in Oporto.

There are generally five different types of port wine – white, ruby, tawny, late bottle vintage (LBV), and vintage. White is aged early and is young and robust.  Ruby is aged for 3 years with a strong grape and pepper taste.  Tawny is aged in smaller wooden barrels and varies from 10 to 40 years (the label will specify how many 10, 20, 30, 40) with a lighter color and a more mellow taste. Late Bottle Vintage is aged 4 to 6 years while vintage is from a single harvest and is bottled after only two years in barrel, keeping it rich and red, then 10 to 30 years in the bottle. All port wines are medium sweet but they do range from a drier, less sweet to very sweet.

Although around thirty grape varieties can be used to make Port Wine, the five red grape types now generally considered to produce the finest port wine are: Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão.

Just some of the fantastic Port Wine Lodges  that you could be visiting in the Porto:

Taylor’s Port Wine Lodge –  One of the oldest of the founding Port houses was established over three centuries ago in 1692. For many, Taylor’s is the archetypal Port house and its wines the quintessential Ports.  It is dedicated entirely to the production of Port wine and in particular to its finest styles. The history of the firm is in many ways the history of the Port trade itself.

Graham’s Port Wine Lodge  – For almost two hundred years W & J Graham’s has been an independent family business renowned for producing some of the finest Port wines. Wine Spectator Magazine voted Dow’s 2011 as the best port Wine in 2014. Dow’s Lodge in Porto is not open for visitors, but Graham’s is their sister company and you can buy the awarded Port here.

Sandeman Port Wine Lodge –  Founded in 1790 the Sandeman Lodge is housed in a former 16th century convent with a small museum. The Sandeman Porto Cellars are a landmark spot and the building boasts one of the best views of Porto.

 Port Wine, Portugal

Join us on a Private Tour of Portugal (or a combined tour with Spain) like our  Luxury Tour of Portugal – Wine and Culture  to experience the beautiful Wine Regions of Portugal in Alentejo and the Douro Valley, among others, to enjoy winery visits and tastings as well as a relaxing picnic in a vineyard and a cruise along the Douro River.

 

 

Pinhão view

Pinhao, (pronounced Pin-yeow) in the heart of the Douro Valley, Portugal, is considered one the most spectacular wine regions of the world with its characteristic terraced vineyards on sloping hills that meet the meandering river below.

On many of our Private Tours that include Portugal and the Douro Valley you will spend 2 or 3 days here to submerge your senses in the Portuguese countryside.  You will definitely switch off from city life here as the area enchants you, enveloping you in its refreshing breath.

Take full advantage of this relaxing haven by taking a stroll beside the Douro River, a drive around this incredibly beautiful area,Pinhao Douro Valley or ride the train meandering alongside the water.  Pinhao station is considered one of the most symbolic locations on the Upper Douro wine circuit.  The picture postcard train station has 25 blue glazed tile panels covering the main building, representing the local landscapes and habits, predominantly of wine making. The Pinhao to Pocinho route is considered one of the world’s most scenic journeys; the rail line runs just along the river with of course the resultant breathtaking views of the terraced vineyards on the other side.

Foz_Coa_With a luxury rental car provided on your Gourmand Breaks self drive tour  travel to Vila Nova de Foz Coa with some spectacular views as the roads wind erratically up and down the mountainside between the different valleys. The town is beautifully situated high above the River Coa, one of the tributaries of the Douro. This is very much an area of olives and almonds as opposed to grapes and the almonds, in particular, make a beautiful sight in early spring. Vila Nova is also the closest town to the 22,000-year-old rock paintings, which were discovered during the construction of a new dam.

Another leisurely excursion to make is to Sabrosa, a short drive to the north of Pinhao, the birthplace of Fernao de Magalhaes (Ferdinand Magellan), who was born there in 1480. One ship of his fleet of five (commanded by the Basque Juan Sebastian de Elcano) was the first to circumnavigate the globe between 1519 and 1522. Magellan himself was killed en route in the Philippines.

This intoxicating atmosphere can also be fully explored with various experiences that await you on your Customized Private Tour of Portugal, whilst in Pinhao:

A private port wine tasting with an expert at your hotel provides an excellent opportunity to start to get to know the best ports of Portugal. Port wine is a wine developed in Portugal by the British.  To make the wine, it ferments for only 2 to 3 days, has brandy Port_wineadded, and then is aged in wooden barrels. How long it ages determines the taste and how sweet the wine is.  There are generally five different types of port wine – white, ruby, tawny, late bottle vintage (LBV), and vintage. White is aged early and is young and robust. Ruby is aged for 3 years with a strong grape and pepper taste. Tawny is aged in smaller wooden barrels and varies from 10 to 40 years with a light, mellow taste. Late Bottle Vintage is aged 4 to 6 years while vintage is from a single harvest and is aged for 2 years in wood and then 10 to 30 years in the bottle.  All port wines are medium sweet but they do range from a drier, less sweet to very sweet.  Enjoy trying to distinguish between the 5 different types of port wine!

Douro_River_Cruise_Peso_da_ReguaA privately skippered Rabelo cruise on the DouroRiver offers a great chance to see the beauty of the area and the many wineries running down towards the river. These cruises are on replica Vintage boats traditionally used to carry the wine down the river from Douro to the lodges in Oporto. A less luxurious option but still a chance to cruise the river would be to join one of the small group excursions on regular boats, which we can also arrange. Whichever way, they are both a great opportunity for you to see the beauty of the area and the many wineries running down towards the river.

The wines from this region are prized for their solid backbone and concentration and this can be seen at some of our favourite wineries: Enjoy a private visit (or two), with wine-tasting, to a prestigious winery in the Douro Demarcated Region, here are a few personal favorites:

– A famous flagship Quinta that is beautifully maintained and picturesquely located just up the river, with gorgeous views of Pinhao. Tour the cellars to see the production processes that have been used over the centuries and how they have evolved.

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– A Quinta that is famed not only for its sophisticated wines but also for its  dramatic, mind blowing views.   References date as far back as the early seventeenth century, long before the Douro became the world’s first demarcated wine region in 1756.

– A world famous port producing Quinta whose reputation goes back to the 18th century. The property at the moment totals just over 76 hectares. All of the grapes are foot trodden in granite lagares situated on the property.

Whatever you decide to see and do, Pinhao is perfectly placed to discover the spectacular Douro Valley, enjoy Portuguese Wines and tantalize your taste buds.  Sample the Portuguese cuisine by dining at your hotel, a local good quality restaurant or even treat yourself to a luxury Michelin starred meal while you’re in the area, at the incredible Rui Paula restaurant, overlooking the river.

At the end of each day, as you climb into the bed of your charming 5-star hotel, you will sleeplessly dream as you recall your fantastic experiences in this picturesquely peaceful area.

vineyards in the douro valley 2

 

Discover Pinhao and the Douro Valley on our Luxury Private Tour of Portugal: Wine and Culture

If you are short on vacation time but in need of some exhilarating scenery and fresh air then the Romantic Escape to The Douro Valley Private tour is for you.