Wine Tasting in Portugal

Wine Tasting in Portugal

Visiting Vineyards in Portugal

I like wine. I’ll bet you do too and so do your clients.  That why I attended a Portuguese Wine tasting event hosted by 6 vineyards located just a half hour outside of Lisbon.  Not only did I spend a delightful afternoon but came away with a great idea for a one day excursion for your clients visiting Lisbon on their own or off of a cruise ship.  

Portugal has been producing wine since the days of the Roman Empire.  While none of the vineyards represented at the wine tasting goes back that far, several have been in the same family for over 400 years.  Take DFJ Vinhos for example.  Their slogan is “Life is too short to drink bad wine.”  The winemaker, Jose Neiva Correia’s family has been making fine wine here for hundreds of years.  Surrounded by beautiful countryside,  FDJ welcomes visitor who want to sample their gold medal winning wines,  Check out their wonderful website, and just e mail them in advance of your arrival,

Another nearby vineyard is Sociedade Vitivinicola do Formigal, Lda.  Their location, just 5 kilometers from the Atlantic, gives the wine a distinctive flavor. Bamboo canes are used to protect the grape arbor from the salt winds.  Maybe that’s why they only do red wine, especially the delicious Vinha da Catedra.  Tell them when you plan to be there by e mailing to

Not to be missed is Companhia Agricola Sanguinhal Viniculture started at this same location in 1183 by Cistercian monks.  In 1927 the current owners, the Fonseca family, took over.  Agricola Sanguinhal encourages visitors to do more than taste their wines….they’ll show you the 19th century gardens, the renovated ancient distilleries where spirits and fortified wines are made as well as visiting the old cellar with wooden presses from 1871. E mail then at

Another great vineyard is Caves Bonifacio, the estate where legend says Christopher Columbus married the daughter of the owner of the Chateau.  What makes wine produced here special is their attention to detail like using no herbicides or chemical fertilizers in the production of grapes.  If you have a few days, they have B & B type rooms to let and you can go sightseeing through an area where some important Napoleonic War battles happened.  Be sure to tell them by e mail ( when you’re arriving and look at their website (

Located between the Atlantic and the Tajo River, Arruda dos Vinhos Winery (  has the soil and climate that makes for excellent wine.  The website is in Portuguese but the pictures tell their great story.  This vineyard was originally planted by a monastic-military group, the Order of Santiago, in the 12th century, What makes Arruda unique is that it’s really a cooperative with 1100 members, each contributing grapes grown with care and precision.  The quality of their wines has been recognized with awards of gold, silver and bronze metals from all over the world.  E mail them

Casa Santos Lima has an incredible website as well as incredible wines (  You can do a virtual tour of the vineyard, learn about the history , read about their multiple medals they’ve won and find out about the various wines they produce.  But you can’t taste their wines unless you go there and it’s just 45 kilometers from Lisbon.  They use more than 40 different grapes to produce their wines, 12 of which are shown and described on the website, including cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir.  Let them know you are coming by email to

Even though their English language website is under construction, you can get a good idea of how beautiful Quinta do Carneiro’s vineyard is by looking at the slide show of photos at  The owner was very successful in the hotel business in Portugal, Angola and the Cape Verde Islands but his love of wine led him to purchase Quinta do Carneiro 21 years ago.  You’re welcome to attend a tasting (in English) by sending an e mail

It’s unlikely that all can be visited in one day (unless you stay over) but think of what great choices you can give your clients for a day excursion from Lisbon that nobody else will suggest to them.  That makes you a great travel agent.

Published in July 2011