Best Douro Valley Wine Tour: My Day with Douro Exclusive
We love wine. We love to travel. Our trips now seem to gravitate toward incredible wine destinations. Douro Valley in Portugal was one of them. With its mesmerizing steeply terraced vineyards, scenic windy roads, and a meandering river, Douro Valley is a do-not-miss attraction! In order to visit several of Portugal’s wineries in one day, I would strongly suggest booking a Douro Valley wine tour. That way you can enjoy the lovely wine without worrying about driving.
We chose Douro Exclusive. Here’s why and what to expect from their wine tour.
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Why We Chose Douro Exclusive
#1- FAMILY RUN + AMAZING STAFF
There are several wine tour companies to choose from, but for us there is one that stood out from the rest.
Douro Exclusive is run by locals Ana and Marco, the sweetest husband and wife team. They also have outstanding staff including Sandra, who was our wine tour guide.
There are some tours you go on where the service feels forced.
Not Douro Exclusive!
The whole team is sincerely genuine and goes above and beyond your expectations. All team members have received the WSET (Wine Spirit and Education Trust) Level 2 Award in wines.
Sandra expertly led us around all the wineries and was very knowledgeable in answering any questions we had. We never felt rushed and really felt like we were hanging out with a good friend who happened to know a lot about wine.
#2- NEAR PERFECT REVIEWS
Of course, I always have to check the reviews.
5.0 on TripAdvisor and 4.9 on Google Reviews. You can’t get much better than that!
#3- PICKUP IN PORTO OR DOURO VALLEY
There are a lot of Douro Valley Wine Tours that are marketed as day tours to and from Porto.
That is a long day!
After traveling around the world and staying in Franschhoek in South Africa, Goriska Brda in Slovenia, and Willamette Valley in Oregon, we now love planning MULTIPLE DAYS in wine destinations.
I strongly recommend staying in Douro Valley for several days. Although Douro Exclusive does make the long drive back and forth from Porto, they also offer to pick up and drop off in Douro Valley.
Would you rather be transported 80 – 105 minutes each way from Porto?
Or would you rather stay in Douro Valley, sleep in, and be at your first winery in 20 minutes? Hmmm …
Douro Valley wine tour map
#4- CASA DO ARCO
This brings me to my fourth reason for choosing Douro Exclusive. They own Casa do Arco, which is an incredible 3-bedroom boutique hotel perched on a hill right in the heart of wine country.
Casa do Arco in Douro Valley, Portugal
We stayed there for two nights. Douro Exclusive picked us up and dropped us off at the hotel. We had a lovely dry-aged steak dinner after our wine tour.
Our Douro Valley Wine Tour Itinerary
9:30 AM: BREAKFAST AT CASA DO ARCO
My husband and I were able to sleep in and have a lovely breakfast at Casa do Arco before our wine tour. Breakfast included croissants, homemade bread, cheese, charcuterie, fresh fruit, yogurt, and granola.
Eating breakfast before a wine tour is essential!
Breakfast at Casa do Arco in Portugal
11 AM: WINE TASTING AT FONSECA
Sandra picked us up promptly at 10:30 AM, and we were off to the first wine tasting of the day at Fonseca.
She stopped at the vineyard right before we entered the property and showed us all the common Portuguese varietals such as Touriga Nacional.
Vineyard walking at Fonseca in Portugal
You can experience Fonseca wine at Vila Nova de Gaia in Porto or at Quinta do Panascal in Douro Valley, which is what we did.
Fonseca is well known in the wine world for its highly acclaimed vintage ports.
Before our tasting, we walked around the grounds and saw the “lagares,” which are granite tanks used for fermentation. The workers will tread the grapes by foot for hours at a time during harvest season.
Granite lagares at Fonseca in Portugal
If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend watching A Year in Port on Amazon prime. It’s a great documentary on the complexities of making port in the Douro Valley in Portugal.
We enjoyed two lovely glasses of a ruby port and tawny sitting outdoors on the patio.
Fonseca wine tasting in Portugal
The scenery is stunning. As far as the eye can see, you see one steeply terraced vineyard after another hugging the Douro River.
Steeply terraced vineyards in Douro Valley in Portugal
1 PM: DOURO RIVER CRUISE + SPECIAL SURPRISE
After our wine tasting, Sandra drove us over to the town of Pinhão for a cruise down the Douro River.
The cruise was a fun way to see all the vineyards on the banks of the river.
Sitting in a boat on a Douro River cruise in Portugal
We happened to go on a day when the weather was perfect.
Sunny, warm but not hot, and super clear skies.
While we were enjoying our time on the water, Sandra surprised us with a tasting of a delicious tawny made by one of the staff’s family members. Obrigada!
Sipping on a special Douro Exclusive tawny on a Douro River cruise in Portugal
2:30 PM: LUNCH AT TOCA DA RAPOSA RESTAURANT + WINE PAIRINGS
All that wine tasting certainly worked up an appetite. We had a fantastic meal at a local restaurant, Toca da Raposa, which serves authentic Portuguese cuisine.
The waiter will ask about your food preferences and go as adventurous as you like. For example, we tried potatoes and wild boar, which was surprisingly not gamey.
The Portuguese love their potatoes, and they do them extremely well.
Wild boar and potatoes at Toca da Raposa in Portugal
We also had some local sausages, soup, bacalhau na broa (cod in bread), and a delicious dessert sampler. All of these traditional dishes were paired with DOC Douro Wines.
Bacalhau na broa at Toca da Raposa in Portugal
The restaurant is run by a husband and wife team. The wife cooks in the back, and the husband works the front of the house. The service was incredibly warm and inviting.
A great local find.
DON’T MISS: Toca da Raposa makes their own homemade jams, which are served at breakfast at Casa do Arco with your freshly baked bread. We had the orange jam, which was bursting with a delicious citrus flavor. We loved it so much that we bought a jar to take back home with us.
Homemade jam from Toca da Raposa in Portugal
5 PM: WINE TASTING AT QUINTA DO CUME
Our last wine tasting of the day was at Quinta do Cume.
Quinta do Cume is a passion project started by surgeon, Jorge Tenreiro. He sought out specific soil content, water proximity, and the right altitude in order to create his unique high-quality wines specific to the terroir.
Quinta do Cume in Douro Valley Portugal
We had a personal tour of the property by one of the staff members who was working towards taking over the winemaking in the future.
After our informative tour, we were led outdoors to enjoy our wine tasting overlooking the vineyards.
Enjoying a wine tasting outdoors at Quinta do Cume in Portugal
My husband and I were led through a lovely tasting of their DOC Douro reds and whites as we snacked on some fresh homemade bread and their own olive oil.
We particularly enjoyed and purchased their Touriga Nacional, Grande Reserva, and Vintage Port 2019.
Quinta do Cume wines
Douro Valley Wine Tour Cost
Douro Exclusive offers two wine tour options:
1) Back to the Douro Roots
2) Immersive Douro Experience.
We joined the Back to the Douro Roots wine tour, which was 210€ per person for the small group tour.
FOODIE TIP: The Immersive Douro Experience takes you to DOC for lunch, which is a restaurant run by the Michelin-starred Chef Rui Paula.
We didn’t dine at DOC but instead, we experienced his amazing seafood dishes at his 2-star Michelin restaurant Casa de Chá da Boa Nova in Porto.
Casa de Chá da Boa Nova has probably one of the most beautiful restaurant settings I have ever been to. It’s perched on the rocks seaside. If you are lucky enough to snag a reservation at the right time, you can witness a spectacular sunset as you savor each bite of your elegantly presented tasting menu.
Dining alfresco at Casa de Chá da Boa Nova in Portugal
What to Wear at Wineries in Portugal
On Douro Valley wine tour
We enjoyed a lovely day in Douro Valley wine country in May (late spring). I wore what I would consider “dressy casual” as seen in the photo above.
If you need more winery outfit inspiration, don’t miss my article below.
If you want to experience some of the best wineries Douro Valley has to offer with an incredibly knowledgeable guide who will feel like a friend at the end, then book your wine tour with Douro Exclusive.
Although they do offer pickup/drop off from Porto, I strongly suggest spending several nights out in Douro Valley at their boutique hotel, Casa do Arco.
Immerse yourself in the beauty of Portugal’s wine country and get ready to be in full relaxation mode. Saude!
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Questions on how to plan your Douro Valley winery tour?
Let me know in the comments below!
Do you have availability for a full day tour on May 31, 2023? We will be staying in Porto. Private tour. Two people.
Thank you so much for reaching out. I am really happy to hear my personal review helped you to decide which wine tour company to use. You will love Douro Exclusive! You can contact them directly for availability on their official website by clicking on the yellow button above. Happy to answer any other questions. Enjoy your trip!