Until I made several trips to Portugal I had no idea that it had such a developed wine industry. There are over 1 million acres of grapes grown in Portugal and the variations in soil and climate across the country produce a fantastic array of unique grape varieties for vineyards in Portugal.
The Portuguese wine industry was built on fortified wines. Port is of course what Portugal is most famous for but it also produces excellent Madeira wine. The Portuguese soon discovered that the grapes which produced their excellent fortified wines could also provide them with some excellent table wines, both red and white.
Plus the cooler areas in the North of the country make what is known as green wine. Green wine is a very young, lightly sparkling yellowish-white wine.
The major wine growing regions in Portugal are the Douro Valley, Alentejo, the Algarve, Beira, Dao, Minho, Tejo, Setubal, Ribatejo, Montes and Tras-os-Montes.
Let’s look at the three most popular regions and some of the best vineyards to visit in each.
15 Vineyards in Portugal
Table of Contents
- 15 Vineyards in Portugal
- The Douro Valley
- Vineyards in the Douro Valley to Visit
- 1. Quinta de la Rosa
- 2. Quinta da Pacheca
- 3. Quinta do Seixo
- 4. Quinta Casa Amarela
- 5. Dirk Niepoort
- Alentejo Wine Region
- Vineyards in Alentejo to Visit
- 6. Cartuxa
- 7. Ervideira
- 8. Herdade de Esporao
- 9. Herdade da Calada
- 10. Fitapreta
- The Algarve
- Vineyards in the Algarve to Visit
- 11. Morgado do Quintao
- 12. Quinta Dos Vales
- 13. Monte da Casteleja
- 14. Quinta do Frances
- 15. Adega do Cantor
The Douro Valley
Just over an hour from Porto, the Douro Valley is Portugal’s most famous wine region. It is synonymous with port but also now produces world-class table or nonfortified wines. The slopes of the Douro Valley were crafted to be conducive to grape growing. Wine has been produced in the Douro Valley for over 200 years and the grapes are still harvested by hand today.
The valley itself is jaw-droppingly beautiful with the clear blue waters of the Douro River against the grassy slopes and vineyards dotted along the way. No wonder this landmark of Portugal was declared a World Heritage Site in 2001.
The Douro Valley is home to the actual wine estates. It is also possible to do visit the port houses in Porto itself. They are in the area of Porto known as Vila Nova de Gaia. This is the area on the other side of the famous bridge across from Porto’s old town.
When it comes to visiting the wine houses of the Douro Valley there are a few options. The Douro Valley can be quite easily visited as a day trip from Porto although of course you will be limited in the number of quintas you are able to visit. This day trip could be done by car or by boat – a lovely way to see both the Douro River and the Valley plus take in some of the wine.
Personally, there are enough good wineries and things to do in the Douro Valley that I would recommend staying for at least one night in the area (there are also some great restaurants and many of the wineries also offer accommodation).
I did drive for one of the days that I spent in the area. I would not recommend this. I am a fairly confident driver but many of the roads are tiny and they are very very windy. The best option is to look to hire a driver for the day and to put together your own itinerary of which cellar doors you would like to visit.
Top Tip: As always make sure you double-check if the wineries you want to visit are open if they insist on bookings for tastings or you can drop in and if they serve food. It is wise to choose your lunch winery and pre-book.
The Douro Valley is best known for Intense Reds and Complex Whites
Grapes of the Douro Valley: Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barocca, Vioshinho, Gouveio, Rabigato, Codega
Vineyards in the Douro Valley to Visit
1. Quinta de la Rosa
Quinta de la Rosa is one of Douro’s best-known wine producers for good reason. If you can only make it to one winery in the Douro this is the one that I would recommend. Both their whites and their reds were my personal favorites of everywhere that I visited.
This is also a fantastic place for a meal. The restaurant at Quinta de la Rosa overlooks the Douro River and I think it may be one of the loveliest places I have ever had lunch. The menu is also excellent – modern European with Portuguese flair – and of course you can then sample more of their wines or have a full glass of your favourite.
Quinta de la Rosa runs wine tours and tastings daily – they can be booked ahead of time on their website.
2. Quinta da Pacheca
My second favourite winery of my trip to the Douro Valley. Quinta da Pacheca also has a beautiful location and some fantastic whites. We were able to enjoy our tasting sitting outside on the lovely terrace at Pacheca. They also have some fun bottle and barrel statues for photo opportunities.
I also had a brilliant lunch here. The Wine House Restaurant has floor-to-ceiling views of the Douro Valley and the food was excellent. Plus each meal is of course paired with the appropriate Quinta da Pacheca wine.
This quinta offers a range of ways to experience its wine. Guided winery tours and tastings in Portuguese and English are available with and without cheese. Cooking classes and picnics can be organised. Perhaps best of all Quinta da Pacheca offers harvest experiences that allow visitors to get stuck in and tread on the grapes!
3. Quinta do Seixo
Part of the Sandman empire, Quinta do Seixo is located at the top of a hill with a very windy drive – but the views are stunning. Its 100 hectares are located between the cities of Regua and Pinhao. The wine-making process and the building are both very modern and feature the latest technologies.
Quinta do Seixo offers a range of tasting experiences. Choose to taste just tawnies, combine tawnies and DOC wines or take a tour and sample 2 or 3 DOC wines. Picnics in the vineyard are also available.
4. Quinta Casa Amarela
Established in 1885, Casa Amarala is one of the oldest Quintas in the Douro Valley and is still owned by the same family. It has a cozy, more traditional style tasting room area with wooden bars. They are known for their very intense reds.
Their vines have an average age of 45 years and the grapes produced include touriga nacional, touriga franca, tinta barroca, tinta roriz, tinto cão, tinta amarela and more. Tastings are available as are tours.
5. Dirk Niepoort
Dirk Niepoort is known as one of the most exciting winemakers in the Douro Valley. Alas, his vineyard in the Douro Valley did not have a tasting room when I visited. I suggest seeing if you can try some of his wines at a restaurant in the Douro or you’ll be sure to find Niepoort wines at some of the great wine shops in cities like Lisbon.
Alentejo Wine Region
It gets hot in this region! Alentejo is conveniently located about 90 minutes southeast of Lisbon (the train is a very easy and direct option). It is known for its tasty reds in particular but personally, I fell for its Antoz and Antoz Vaj white grapes.
The area is also known for storing its wine Roman-style – deep under the earth in huge clay pots. And the latest trend is to do the same but store them underwater.
Evora is a beautiful town in the heart of the Alentejo Region. I highly recommend staying here for a couple of nights. It is home to some fantastic restaurants and the pedestrianized streets of this walled town are utterly charming.
Red Grapes: Alfrocheiro, Alicante Bouschet, Aragonez, Cabernet Sauvignon, Castelao, Syrah, Touriga Nacional and Trincadeira (Just over 3/4 of the grapes grown in Alentejo are red).
White Grapes: Antao Vaz, Arinto, Fernao Pires, Gouveio and Siria (Roupeiro).
Top Tip: Don’t miss eating at Taberna Tipica Quarta Feira in Evora and make sure you book ahead. My meal here was one of the highlights of the last 12 months. This charming restaurant has been in the same family for generations. There is no menu – you come in and you eat. And oh eat we did! I lost track of the many courses that we had and I may have been a bit tipsy as we had been tasting at the Cartuxa Enoteca before but my gosh what a meal. It will be different when you go so I’m not going to go through what we ate – just please please book ahead and go!
Vineyards in Alentejo to Visit
One of the best-known wineries in the region is Cartuxa. It is possible to visit their estate on the Quinta de Valbon. However, a great way to optimize your time is to spend an evening at the Cartuxa Enoteca in the middle of Evora.
This light airy modern restaurant and bar is a great place to do some wine tasting and the food is wonderful. We liked it so much that we went twice while we were there. I particularly enjoyed their Antao Vaz and sparkling wines. And don’t miss its amazing ooey gooey cheese.
Ervideira and Cartuxa were my personal favourite vineyards in the Alentejo region. Ervideira has a wonderful large tasting room where one side is completely glass offering some awesome views. The winemaker himself was actually in the tasting room doing the serving which was quite exciting!
We tried 10 different wines during our visit (we are very thorough) including the one which had been stored underwater (it didn’t do anything for me but was fun to taste). This vineyard also serves tasty snacks and I sent a case of their white featuring the Antoa Vaz grape home.
Ervideira also has wine shops in Evora and Lisbon. They hold a variety of tastings at the winery as well as in their stores plus some unique offers like being a winemaker for the day. Do be sure to check what is running where on their website and book ahead.
8. Herdade de Esporao
The biggest winery in Alentejo and the first winery to gain certification in Portugal. Herdade de Esporao is a large and beautiful estate. They have some good tasting options and some lovely outdoor seating areas. Definitely worth visiting or you will absolutely find their wines on menus in restaurants in Evora if you run short on time.
Esporao hosts several different types of tours and tastings as well as events around food. Do check their site before you head to Alentejo to find out what is available.
Top Tip: Rather than having lunch at one of the wineries head to the absolutely gorgeous hilltop town of Monsaraz. This walled hilltop town is filled with small windy streets, charmingly merchandised shops, a tower, beautiful churches and awesome views. We had a fantastic meal with amazing views and slightly surly service at
9. Herdade da Calada
Founded in 1854, Herdade da Calada is surrounded by cork trees and eucalyptus from Australia. The estate is over 420 hectares, 55 for grapes and 126 for olive groves. It is one of the most modern and innovative wineries in the region. They even harvest their grapes in the middle of the night to ensure that the grapes are cool. Wine tastings and tours are run regularly but do book ahead. And they have accommodation.
Located on an estate from the 14th century, Fitapreta itself didn’t start production until the early 2000s. They produce a large variety of grapes including Arinto, Antão Vaz, Roupeiro, Alicante Branco, Trincadeira das Pratas, Rabo de Ovelha, Terrum, Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Trincadeira, Castelão, Baga, Aragones, Moreto and Tinta Carvalha.
The location and the 14th-century estate here are just stunning. Fitapreta operates tours as well as tastings on site and is quite close to Evora.
The Setubal wine region is a peninsula about 30 minutes south of Lisbon so it’s an easy day trip from Lisbon. Setubal is best known for its Moscatel Wine. The native grapes are Moscatel of course (a white grape) and a red grape called Castelao. Wine has been made in this region since Roman times. Check out JM da Fonseca, a family owned vineyard which receives rave reviews, and Malo Tojo which is located nearby.
The wines of the Algarve have gained many new admirers in recent years. In the past, there was some snobbery when it came to wine from this region – I am sure no one wanted the Algarve to have the beaches, the weather, and the wine! – but in recent years its winemakers have demanded their seat at the table in the Portuguese wine industry.
The Algarve isn’t just beaches and sea breezes, there are also mountains to the north of the region which results in relatively low and moderate temperatures for the grapes of the region. This also means that wines from the Algarve tend to be light in body but the warmth provides a depth of taste. Unsurprisingly they are perfect for drinking in a warmer climate and with the stews and seafood characteristic of the region.
Designated Origin Red Varieties: Negra Mole, Castelao, Trincadeira
Designated Origin White Wines: Arinto, Malvasia Fina, Siria
The Algarve also produces well-known grapes such as Syrah, Chardonnay, Alvarinho, Verdelho and Cabernet Sauvignon.
If you’re after a fresh dry white try wines using the Alvarinho, Arinto, or Verdelho grapes. For a sweeter, fuller-bodied white wine go for Chardonnay, Viognier, or Moscatel.
For red wine, the cabernet sauvignon, castelao and negra mole grapes will give a fresh, dry flavour. Syrah, Touriga Nacional, and Aragonez are the grapes for a more full-bodied flavour.
The Algarve’s vineyards are divided into eight areas: Lagos, Portimao, Lagoa, Silves, Albufeira, Loule, Fao and Tavira. The largest number of vineyards are in the Silves region west of Albufeira.
Vineyards in the Algarve to Visit
11. Morgado do Quintao
This smaller winery in the Algarve only started producing wine commercially five years ago. However, that wine is coming from vines that are over 60 years old. The current owners revived the nearly dead vineyards across their 15 hectares to produce 100% biological Portuguese-only grapes. The location of Morgado do Quintao means that the mountains to its north protect it from harsh wines and they have the breezes from the ocean.
The winery only produces one white wine – Crato Branco. Low in acid, this fresh-tasting wine is perfect for warm days in the Algarve. Morgado do Quintao’s Palyet is a rose that is legally a red wine. The production follows the same process as for red wine but it is composed of 30% red grapes and 70% white. This was the first wine produced at this Portuguese winery and it is delicious. Personally, I found it to have quite a bit more flavour than a typical rose.
Morgado do Quintao’s red wine is made with predominantly negra mole grapes. It is a light red wine but has the flavour of a heavier red. The quinta took some of this red and decided to test ageing it in clay pots.
The Romans developed the technique of ageing wine in clay pots buried under the earth and it may well have been the first method ever used to age wine. Morgado do Quintao are the first to employ this technique in the Algarve.
At the time of writing, tastings are held at the winery each day at 4pm but do call in advance and check.
Top Tip: Morgado do Quintao offers accommodation as well as a delightful outdoor lunch served under its lovely 1500-year-old olive tree. This three-course meal is, of course, accompanied by all of the wines mentioned above. The food is traditional Portuguese and was excellent – salted cod tempura, their own locally grown olives and carrots, grilled pork and an unusual but tasty sweet potato cake for dessert. Dinner is also available.
12. Quinta Dos Vales
Quinta Dos Vales has been operating as a winery since the 1940s. For decades it only grew the negro mole grape. In 2006, the winery came under new ownership and began growing Antoz Vaz, removed the negro mole grape and are now making 9 red wines and 8 white wines. Today, this award-winning winery is the 4th biggest producer in the Algarve.
Their wines are sold under three sub-brands: Dialog, Grace and Marques Dos Vales. The Dialog range is designed to be drunk during the day with lunch.
The winery offers tours and different levels of tastings – do make sure to book ahead.
If you’ve ever wanted to become a winemaker but aren’t keen to take on the full responsibility of a vineyard then the Quinta Dos Vales private winemaker program could be for you. The quinta allows private customers to rent some of their lands for 99 years. The new “owner” can choose which grapes are grown on their land, what mixes they would like for their wines etc. And of course, they are able to visit their own winery!
Finally, the owner of Quinta Dos Vales is a big fan of the Colombian artist Botero. He is also an artist himself and you will see his dramatic sculptures throughout the vineyard.
13. Monte da Casteleja
This organic producer began planting grapes in 2000. Winemaker Guillaume Leroux trained in France, Australia and the Douro Valley before heading to the Algarve. Monte da Casteleja produces Arinto and Perrum grapes for its white wines and Bastardo and Alfrocheiro for its rose and red wines. The winery is conveniently located just 3 kms from Lagos.
The winery offers guided tours and a farmer’s lunch with wine, all of which must be booked in advance.
14. Quinta do Frances
Quinta do Frances is located away from the coast in the hills and valleys of Silves. Its winemaker, Patrick Agostini, trained in Bordeaux so the vineyards are planted with French grape varieties (cabernet sauvignon, syrah and sauvignon blanc) and Portuguese grape varieties (Trincadeira and Aragonez). The winery produces white, rose and red wines.
Tours and tastings are run Monday through Saturday.
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15. Adega do Cantor
Located close to the town where Peri Peri Chicken started, Guia, Adega do Cantor is home to three vineyards. Quinta do Moinho produces wine under the Vida Nova label. It has a famous owner, singer Cliff Richard, who is very involved in the vineyard which produces arinto, antao vaz, syrah and aragones grapes.
Quinta do Miradouro is owned by Nigel and Leslie Birch and produces viognier, syrah, aragones and alicante bouschet which are also used by the Vida Nova brand. Vale do Sobreiro is the 3rd vineyard. It produces mostly syrah with some verdelho grapes.
Winery tours and tasting run several times a day on weekdays and Adega do Cantor will even come and pick you up for a reasonable fee. The cellar door is open all day. Both are closed on weekends and public holidays.
Top Tip: If you’re after vineyards specialising in green wine or Vinho Verde head to the Minho region in the north of Portugal. The verde comes from the fact that the grapes in this wine are unripe. It is meant to be drunk young and fresh and tends to be a yellow colour with a lightly sparkling texture. I have heard good things about Quinta do Amael, (part of the Esporao Group) a small 18th-century vineyard known for its whites using the Loureiro grape and Paco de Teixeiro, a wine estate dating back to the 14th century and also known for its whites.
I was so impressed with the wines of Portugal. As an Australian, I found the warm weather flavour profiles really worked for me. I have visited Portugal twice in the last two years which included visiting the three wine regions in this article. I hope to add more wine regions to this article in the years to come!
I covered all of the costs associated with writing this article. However, this vineyards in Portugal post includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.