3 Must-Visit Wineries in the Douro Valley: Quinta Da Pacheca, Quinta Do Crasto, & Quinta Nova

In today’s blog post, we’ll be taking you on a journey to Portugal’s timeless, beautiful, and completely captivating Douro Valley.

What is The Douro Valley?

Known by wine lovers and travel aficionados, the Douro Valley in northern Portugal is a slice of heaven on earth. Here, the wine flows as freely as the river, capturing the hearts of all who visit with its stunning terraced vineyards and villages frozen in time.

⁤The Douro Valley is home to three distinct sub-regions, each known for its different takes on the port wine this region is celebrated for. In Baixo Corgo, abundant rains give birth to light and fresh table wines. Then, in the heart of the valley, Cima Corgo prolifically produces refined port wines. Lastly, Douro Superior boasts sun-kissed landscapes and earns acclaim for its complex wines and cultural landmarks.

Unlike many of Europe’s war-hardened riverfronts, the Douro was never a strategic military location. Therefore, the region was able to develop its own incomparable culture and way of life. Instead of castles, one encounters farms and quiet villages, echoing a peaceful coexistence with nature. You’ll find that quintas, or wine estates, seamlessly intertwine with the land, and the cuisine focuses on using local produce. Naturally, this area offers a placid setting for boat cruises floating down the Douro River’s gentle currents. These can range from brief half-day excursions from Porto to luxurious week-long journeys.

As one of the oldest demarcated wine regions worldwide, the Douro Valley claims the sole right to create Port wine. Despite the adversity of the terrain, there’s much pride in the region’s commitment to long-established wine-making methods. Terraced vineyards, carved out by generations of farmers, show the intense labor invested in these lands. Furthermore, the region safeguards its craft by continuing to collect grapes by hand and employing the use of age-old foot-stomping methods for wine production.

In this blog, we’ll uncover everything you need to know to craft the perfect winery hopping itinerary with our in-depth guide to three of the best Douro Valley Quintas. 

Quinta Da Pacheca

Location: Lamego, part of the Baixo Corgo region of the Douro Valley

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Quinta Da Pacheca from Porto is to hire a driver.

Stand Out Feature: You can stay in a giant wine barrel!

With a history that reaches back nearly three centuries, this winery is among the Douro’s oldest and most reputable establishments. Known for pioneering the bottling of their own wine label, Quinta da Pacheca represents the essence of Portuguese wine-making excellence.

This Quinta provides an array of experiences tailored to any visitor, including vineyard tours available in English or Portuguese and cooking classes that teach the art of Portuguese cuisine. For a more leisurely pace, enjoy a picnic among the vines and savor the surroundings where your wine grew. And for the adventurous, grape stomping presents visitors with a taste of the wine-making process, quite literally from the ground up.

The Wines

Quinta da Pacheca offers award-winning ports in white, tawny, vintage, and ruby styles. At this winery, workers make all the wine, regardless of style, in the old-fashioned way by foot-stomping. For those who wish to participate in the winemaking process, plan to visit around harvest time. This occurs in the last few weeks of September through the first week of October. This way, you can partake in the foot-stomping festivities.

Quinta da Pacheca Wine House Hotel

The allure of Quinta da Pacheca extends beyond the vino to the iconic accommodations. This 18th-century manor house opened its doors in 2009 to create an intimate stay that’s steeped in historical charm. With both conventional hotel rooms and unique barrel-shaped cabins, the accommodations guarantee guests a stay that is as memorable as it is comfortable. The ten ingeniously designed barrel cabins offer modern comforts, including skylights perfect for stargazing.

With only ten wine barrel cabins on the property, it’s necessary to book in advance. 

Wine House Restaurant

Open for lunch from 12:30 PM to 3:00 PM and dinner from 7:30 PM to 10:00 PM. The Wine House Restaurant serves up traditional Portuguese cuisine paired with Quinta da Pacheca wines. The restaurant has large, picturesque windows that provide a lovely view of the vineyards while you dine.

Vineyard Spa

The spa at Quinta da Pacheca features typical spa treatments alongside offerings that aim to marry winemaking with wellness. One such package is the Pacheca Red Grape Bath For Two. This package includes two wine tastings, a rejuvenating grape bath followed by a massage with grape seed oil, and ending with a revitalizing wine facial.

Quinta Do Crasto

Location: Sabrosa, part of the Cima Corgo region of the Douro Valley

How to Get There: One of the most scenic ways to reach Quinta do Crasto is by taking the Douro Line train from Porto. Or, starting either from Porto or Pinhão, you can embark on a boat journey up the Douro River.

Stand Out Feature: Continually recognized for its excellence, Quinta do Crasto has ranked among the World’s Best Vineyards for the 5th consecutive time. In 2023, it placed 15th and led the Portuguese Quintas in this prestigious ranking.

With references to wine production dating back to 1615, the grounds of Quinta do Crasto hold a rich history. One such example of that history is a landmark ‘Marco Pombalino’ stone marker that delineated the Douro’s boundaries when it was designated as the world’s first official wine region in 1758.

Since 2012, Quinta do Crasto has opened its doors to approximately 7,000 visitors annually looking to indulge in their award-winning wines. A visit typically begins at the grape reception area, meanders through the newly renovated winemaking cellars and barrel cellar, and passes by the iconic Vinha Maria Teresa vineyard. Visitors are also guided to the lab, where stringent quality controls are conducted on each and every wine they produce. The trip concludes with a visit to the Century-Old House, featuring a curated wine-tasting encounter with five of Quinta do Crasto’s finest wines. For a more immersive visit, visitors may opt to complement their tour with a lunch or dinner at the estate. They may also pair this with a leisurely boat trip along the Douro River to take in its beauty.

Note: All visits to Quinta do Crasto are subject to prior appointment and confirmation by the Wine Tourism Department.

The Wines

Signature Wine: Quinta do Crasto Reserva Old Vines

Each year, the vineyard produces an impressive 1.5 million bottles of Douro and Port wines, branching into Red, Rosé, and White varietals. The winery contains three granite lagares (vats), the largest of which is able to contain nine tons of grapes. These selected grapes, known for their sweet and concentrated flavors, are manually trodden by the team in keeping with tradition. However, they do have modern automatic treading technology they utilize on their other wines. The harvesting technology is coupled with the meticulous aging of its wines, which varies from six months, as with the Crasto Superior White, to twenty months, in the case of Quinta do Crasto Vinha Maria Teresa.

Quinta do Crasto Manor House

The Quinta do Crasto Manor House is currently dedicated to welcoming wine tourism visitors. The rooms in the main house and the four suites, totally renovated, keeping some of the original architectural features of the house, are for the exclusive use of the family and their guests.

Those lucky enough to stay the night in the guest wing of the estate can take advantage of the infinity pool, which has views right down the River Douro. Remember to visit the 17th-century chapel at the highest point of the estate, hidden amid a small grove of trees.

The Grounds

Our Lady of Amparo has stood guard over the Quinta do Crasto since the 17th century. Every year, a mass is said to bless the property and all of its owners and workers.

Quinta Nova

Location: Sabrosa, part of the Cima Corgo region of the Douro Valley

How to Get There: The Winery House possesses its own train station, a heliport, and a boat dock. Guests arriving by train can utilize the estate’s free shuttle between the train station and the main building. The nearest airport is Porto International Airport, 80 miles away.

Stand Out Feature: Quinta Nova boasts an immersive ‘winemaker for a day’ experience that entails blending three wines that you bottle, label, and take home. This package also includes a tasting session of a few of Quinta Nova’s finest wines.

The Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo estate harbors one of the oldest wineries in the Douro Valley, with buildings that date back to 1764. Currently under the leadership of Luisa Amorim, Quinta Nova continues the legacy of the Amorim family that dates back to 1870. From their beginnings creating cork stoppers for the Port Wine Cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, the Amorim family has maintained a strong bond with the wine sector that is still held today.

Quinta Nova has been a pioneer in the region, being the first wine estate in the Douro to introduce wine tourism facilities. While they have recently undergone extensive renovations prior to the 2023 harvest season, the interiors of the winery still reflect the unparalleled charm of a well-preserved historic building. The accommodations at the estate are also part of the Relais & Châteaux association, which prides itself on curating the best authentic luxury properties.

Quinta Nova offers tours, tastings, a wine museum, and several unique excursions, including participating in the grape harvest, riding in a classic car, or setting sail on the Douro River.

Quinta Nova Winery House

Accommodations in the winery house are designed to exude the warmth and grandeur of a large Portuguese family home. With 11 bespoke rooms, each space in the winery house reflects the soul of Portuguese culture and hospitality. The estate’s allure is magnified by its proximity to the original winery, constructed in 1764 and surrounded by idyllic vine terraces. The experience of staying in the winery house extends to the outdoors, with three marked routes covering eight kilometers beckoning guests to explore the grounds.

Terraçu’s Restaurant

Open daily for lunch from 12:30 to 3:00 PM and dinner from 7:30 to 10:00 PM. This restaurant specializes in fine Portuguese cuisine. Exclusive to hotel guests, Terraçu’s touts an abundant breakfast buffet and a choice-rich à la carte menu. Furthermore, guests also have the option of indulging in an evening aperitif or a packed lunch to carry them through a day of adventures on the Douro River.

Patamar Wine Shop & Bar

Patamar Wine Shop & Bar is the home base of the wine tourism experiences at Quinta Nova. Open from Tuesday to Sunday, Patamar is the ideal spot to savor Quinta Nova’s exquisite wines, coupled with customary tapas. From April to October, it is open from 10:30 AM to 7 PM, and from November to March, it welcomes guests from 10:30 AM to 5:30 PM.

For those wishing to take a piece of Quinta Nova home, Patamar provides wines at producer prices and a convenient shipping service to the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the USA. It’s the perfect souvenir to share with friends and family as you reminisce about your time spent in Portuguese wine country.

Aeternus Wine Bar

On the top floor of the Winery House, the Aeternus Wine Bar endeavors to create an elegant private retreat for guests. Open daily from 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM, this wine bar invites guests to indulge in a fine glass of wine or choose from a curated selection of cigars for a leisurely afternoon under the Douro sky.

Mirabilis Pool Bar

The pool bar is dedicated to hotel guests and is open from May to October. Visitors are welcome between 11:00 AM and 6:30 PM. With its unheated outdoor pool, this peaceful retreat is the epitome of rest and relaxation.

Unleash your inner wine critic with a trip to Portugal’s Douro Valley. Plan your trip with us today!

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