From the Ribeira Square in Porto, looking at the other side of the river, you will see the Port Wine Cellars. They are eighteen in total, each with their own visitors' center. Most of the wine-cellars are situated in the slopes of Gaia, between Arrábida and D. Luis I bridges.
This privileged location gathers unique climate conditions for the aging of Port Wine produced in the upper Douro Valley
, the oldest demarcated wine region in the world. Another reason for building the wine-cellars in Gaia was the lower taxes practiced on that side of the river at that time.
Wines in the cellars age either in cask or in a vat. Casks are old wooden barrels, namely seasoned oak barrels usually containing around 630 liters of wine. Cask aging encourages contact between the wine and the wood and intensifies the aging process. The rich and complex aromas of maturity, such as notes of butterscotch, walnut, and fine oak wood, develop quicker in a cask. This method of aging is therefore used mainly for the fruitier styles of Port where the wood aging is intended to give the wine smoothness and a degree of complexity and, at the same time, allowing it to retain its youthful structure and freshness.
Gaia quay houses harbor more than 25 stores, including restaurants, shops, and cafés, bars, and nightclubs. These wine-cellars differ from each other: some opt for a more "cinematographic" visit (like Sandeman, in which the guide bends the cape and hat characterizing this brand or Real Companhia Velha that built its fabulous cellaret in a tunnel initially conceived for the passage of the railroad.
Cellars such as Cálem, Quinta do Noval, Sandeman, Ramos Pinto and Ferreira, render us terraces from which it is possible to enjoy the prettiest views towards the city of Porto
These companies provide guided tours in different languages and practically every brand offers a wine-tasting. This famous nectar can be acquired in every wine-cellar which makes it one of the highlights of some of A2Z walking and biking trips and a mandatory “pit-stop”.