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8th Day: Portugal

Our tour of Portugal’s wine regions continued on our eighth day with visits to two quintas in the Douro Valley. At Quinta do Portal, we had the opportunity to see a demonstration of a Port bottle opened with a tong. During our tour we learned that older ports tend to have the corks sealed with sugar from the ports, increasing the likelihood of the corks falling apart as they are removed from the bottle. Using iron tongs and a special technique, the neck of the bottle is cut. The technique seems simple enough, but would you want to use it with a bottle of old Port in your cellar? At our demonstration, we were asked would we rather use the tongs on an old Port or saber a bottle of Champagne? How would you answer?


Porta tongs









For  our visit to Quinta do Noval, our large touring bus was not allowed to drive to the winery facility. This was all for the better, since we were able to see and take photos of the terraced vineyards and spring flowers bursting forth.


Quinta do Noval

Early flowers at Quinta do Noval

Terraced vineyards at Quinta do Noval








On our eighth day of touring Portugal, we were looking forward to a boat ride on the Douro River; unfortunately the weather was less than cooperative. The Douro River needs to be taken seriously. It runs with deep currents and after days of rain in the region, the  sight of white caps and a tree floating in the river were enough to cancel the trip. However, even during a rainy day in winter, the Douro Valley is beautiful. Up close to some of the vineyards, you can observe the vine’s architecture as well as the terraced landscape.

View of Douro from bus






Upon returning to The Vintage House Hotel, there was enough time for Terry to provide a 45-minute  presentation/tasting to the group on the Georgia, Sakartvelo ancient wine industry. Everyone was interested in the ancient Georgian winemaking tradition.


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