The Douro Valley makes a dramatic first impression. With its rolling green hills, a mighty river, and lush vineyards and olive groves, it’s hard to imagine a better backdrop for sipping fine Douro Valley wines.

The world’s oldest demarcated wine region, Douro Valley wines are extraordinary—despite the unmerciful environment in which they grow. Yes, the region is gorgeous, with its powerful fjordlike river that cuts through the rolling hillsides. But don’t be fooled; it’s no easy feat to maintain these unique terraced vineyards. Forbiddingly hot summers, hardened rock slopes, and a lack of paved roads all combine to create some of the cruelest vineyard conditions around. It’s this fascinating setting and rich history that makes sipping Douro Valley Wines all the more alluring (and delicious.)


Douro Valley, Portugal


While the Douro Valley isn’t necessarily a secret, the destination doesn’t see nearly as many tourists as other famed wine regions like Bordeaux or Napa. Yet it’s an easy stop on your way to the historical Minho region—another must-visit in Portugal. Drive just a few minutes outside of the main town of Pinhão and you’ll encounter picturesque towns devoid of any tourists, scenes seemingly pulled straight out of a storybook.

To discover the best of Pinhão and the top Douro Valley wines, it’s best to have a knowledgeable guide. Enter: Jorge Barefoot Wine & Tours. Read on for the full recap of our day with Jorge spent touring the Douro Valley by boat, car, and foot. 


Pinhão Douro Valley Portugal



Experiencing Douro Valley Wines With Jorge Barefoot Wine & Tours


It’s no secret that we love wine and food tours. From Hong Kong to Paris to Boston, we’ve had quite a few incredible foodie experiences over the past decade of travel together. Our Wine and Olive Oil Tour with Jorge Barefoot Wine & Tours was no exception, delivering an in-depth look at the culture and history of the region—while also ensuring there was no shortage of wine and food. 


Douro River boat ride with Jorge Barefoot Wine & Tours


It’s important to know that the best wineries in Douro Valley are spread out and most require advanced reservations for a tasting. We wanted to discover the Douro Valley’s top table wines (with some ports thrown into the mix), but we also wanted to do it in a way that would let us try small production wines from passionate producers.

Jorge Barefoot Wine & Tours was the perfect solution. We set up a private full-day tour beginning at our Provezende AirBnB and set out to Pinhao from there.


Understanding Douro Valley Wines


Vineyards in the Douro Valley in Portugal during Wine Tour with Jorge Barefoot Wine & Tours


Before we dive into the highlights of our Jorge Barefoot Wine Tour, it’s helpful to understand more about winemaking in the Douro Valley. 

While vines have been growing in the Douro Valley since antiquity, it wasn’t until the 17th century that the Douro Valley became famed for what we now call Port. Due to politics that we won’t go into, the English had prohibited the importation of French wines. Of course, the British needed a new supplier to meet their drinking needs. A close alliance between England and Portugal, along with favorable weather and soil conditions, made the Douro Valley an ideal solution.


Pinhão Douro Valley Wine Tour


English merchants began moving to Port, where their warehouses still stand on the south bank of the Douro River today. The wine was transported from the vineyards in the Douro Valley down the river to Port via ‘barcos rabelos’, where merchants then exported the wine to England. Hence the name “Port Wine.”

While many associate the Douro Valley with its sweet, fortified wines (what we now call Port), one of the most complex and age-worthy wines in the world. While Port is the crown jewel of the region’s wine production, there are also many delicious red, white, rose and sparkling wines to discover. 

As we typically prefer dry wines to sweet, our tour of the Douro Valley focused on table wines, olive oil, and, of course, food. Now, let’s dive into the delicious part: all the amazing places Jorge took us on our tour!


Our Douro Valley Wine Tour Itinerary


1. Quinta do Foz


Quinta do Foz Winery Douro Valley Wine in 


The first stop on our wine and olive oil tour was the chic Quinta do Foz Winery. Its idyllic location on the junction of the Pinhão and Douro Rivers makes it an ideal spot to enjoy the surrounding views while tasting wines or taking leisurely hikes through the extensive gardens.

We began with a tour of the facilities, learning more about the traditional foot-stomping method to crush grapes, which is still used for some 75% of the winery’s production (especially the older vines which create more complex wines.)


Douro River

Chapel at Quinta do Foz Winery Douro Valley Portugal

Quinta do Foz Winery Douro Valley Portugal


After the tour, it was time to begin the tasting! We sampled four wines: a blend of indigenous whites, a blend of reds, a reserve, and a tawny port. The reserve was the highlight, with notes of vanilla and black pepper.

What we loved most about Quinta do Foz was that our guide took the time to help us explore how to taste the subtle flavors and characteristics of the different wines, while also explaining with what food each wine would typically best pair.


2. Boat Ride Down The Douro River And Lunch


Douro River boat ride in Portugal


To get a better sense of the Douro Valley (and simply revel in the dramatic scenery) it was now time to take a leisurely boat ride down the Douro River. Jorge was our captain, sharing fascinating tidbits about the history of wine and olive trees in the region.

A boat ride down the Douro is one of the best ways to truly appreciate the landscape and the challenge of cultivating vineyards on mind-boggling steep hills. Many boating companies offer tours jam-packed with tourists and cameras, but a private tour on a traditional boat is by far the most romantic and enjoyable way to experience the region.


Douro River boat ride in Portugal


After about an hour and a half on the water, we were ready to fuel up for more wine tastings with a hearty Portuguese lunch. We stopped at a quiet but busy restaurant serving authentic and local cuisine, where we opted to try regional favorites like the Tripas a Modo do Porto (traditional tripe stew from Port); Pescado Gratanizado (a fish casserole of sorts); and Bolo Borrachão (cake soaked in Port.)


Lunch during Jorge Barefoot Wine & Tours in Douro Valley

Pescado Gratanizado Typical Food In Douro Valley

Tripas a Modo do Porto Douro Valley Food

Port cake


3. Olive Oil Tasting at D’Origem With Douro Valley Vineyard Views


D’Origem Tasting Room Douro Valley Wine Tour with Jorge Barefoot Wine & Tours


While most associate the Douro Valley with wines, the region also produces exceptional olive oils.


The majority of producers now use modern, stainless steel cold-press machines (which produce healthier, higher quality oils.) But it is still fascinating to see the original, time-intensive process used for pressing olive oil. At the small, family-run business of D’Origem, you can do just that.


Owner of D’Origem in Douro Valley


Traditionally, after harvesting the olives by hand, they are then crushed for 30-40 minutes to create a paste. Hot water is added to the paste for 30-45 minutes to heat the mixture, then spread around woven rugs. A machine transports the rugs to a press, and there you have it: olive oil!

As always, the best part of the tour is tasting the products! In addition to the olive oils, there are also locally produced wines and honey to indulge in. The modern tasting room is gorgeous, with spectacular vistas of the Douro Valley.


Traditional Olive Oil Press at D’Origem

Traditional Olive Oil Press at D’Origem


4. Quinta do Jalloto


Quinta do Jalloto Douro Valley Wine Tour


The next stop on our tour was another small, family run winery called Quinta do Jalloto. While the specific name brand was only founded in 2007, the family has been producing wines in the Douro for nearly a century.

Quinta do Jalloto has a small production of around 10,000 bottles a year. Local workers harvest the grapes by hand, many from vines of a hundred years old. They also follow the traditional foot-stomping method for pressing the grapes. Most of the wines are then aged in oak barrels before bottling.


Quinta do Jalloto on Douro Valley Wine Tour with Jorge Barefoot Wine & Tours


A visit to Quinta do Jalloto is worth it for the view alone. We think the terrace at Jalloto offers the best views in the Douro Valley, with 180-degree views of the valley and vineyards.


Wine Tour with Jorge Barefoot Wine & Tours at Quinta do Jalloto


But the true highlight was getting to meet the town’s local mayor, who also happens to be the winemaker at Quinta do Jalloto. He gifted us with a bottle of Grand Reserve, which we will undoubtedly be saving for a special occasion.


Owner of Quinta do Jalloto in the Douro Valley


5. Quinta do Bucheiro


Quinta do Bucheiro Douro Valley Portugal Wine Tour


The final stop on our amazing Douro Valley wine tour turned out to be the highlight of the entire day: Quinta do Bucheiro.

This historic winery was founded over 250 years ago and continues to operate as a small, private family operated business. The winery is located in a magnificent home dating back to 1751. A tour through the home with the family patriarch reveals antiques and treasures from the Douro throughout the centuries. This small museum adds a certain touch of magic to the culture of wine making in the Douro.


Home Chapel at Quinta do Bucheiro a Douro Valley Vineyard

Inside Quinta do Bucheiro

Old Wine Bottles at Quinta do Bucheiro vineyards in Douro Valley


In addition to touring the home, be sure to explore the dark tunnels beneath the house which are used as a natural refrigerator for the sparkling wine process! Once mining tunnels, today they function as a unique cellar for bubbly.


Underground Sparkling Wine Cellar during Douro Valley Wine Tour with Jorge Barefoot Wine & Tours


Sitting around the table, drinking wine and eating cheese, pumpkin jam and cured meats with the Bucheiro family, we couldn’t help but feel like we were invited into a family member’s home for an extended aperitivo. Our tour went far past the designated “end time” because we were having such a fantastic afternoon getting to know the Bucheiro family. As we moved from sparkling to white to red, our glasses were continually topped off. No set sample sizes, no ticking clocks, just a long afternoon filled with laughter and real conversation. It’s memories like these that make travel so special—and one we will not soon forget.


Quinta do Bucheiro Vineyard in Douro Valley


We highly recommend Jorge Barefoot Wine & Tours for a private day spent exploring the best wineries in Douro Valley. 

What sets Jorge’s tours apart from the rest is that he has carefully curated a day that combines the best flavors of the Douro Valley with the most hospitable, interesting wine and olive oil makers—who are together transforming the quality and caliber of Douro Valley vineyards and products.

In addition to thoughtfully choosing stops that add to the interesting food and wine narrative of the Douro Valley, Jorge is a wealth of knowledge about all things pertaining to the region. On each stop of the tour, you’re made to feel like family. 


Jorge Barefoot Wine and Tours Douro Valley


Accommodation In The Douro Valley


The Vintage House Douro Valley Portugal


Day trips to the Douro Valley from the large city of Port are possible, but we wouldn’t recommend them. One day alone in the Douro isn’t nearly enough time to enjoy all the region has to offer. We stayed for three nights, which we felt was perfect (especially if you plan to drive the scenic route to Pinhao from Porto.)

If you want to be conveniently located within walking distance of a few wineries, restaurants, or the train station, then you’ll want to stay in central Pinhao. There are a handful of small hotels and guesthouses, but for a truly memorable experience, we recommend The Vintage House.

 Each room at this spectacular five-star boutique hotel has a quiet terrace with unparalleled views of the Douro River. Read our full review of The Vintage House here.


The Vintage House Douro Valley Portugal


We also stayed in a lovely apartment in the historic town of Provezende, which we highly recommend for those looking for a quiet getaway in an untouched location. We were particularly moved when the Portuguese neighbors cut fresh flowers from their garden for our anniversary, all the while giggling and shouting “parabens!” 

You’ll also find the famed restaurant “Papas Zaide” here, but do know you will need a reservation at this small family establishment. We booked our apartment in Provezende through Airbnb. If you’re new to Airbnb, get a discount off your first stay here.


Getting Around The Douro Valley


Train tracks from Porto to Pinhão


The train from Porto through the Douro is famed for its scenic route alongside the river. However, since we were on our Portuguese road trip with EconomyBookings, of course we opted to drive.

The scenic drive from Porto to Pinhao takes about four hours. This was easily the most gorgeous section of our entire road trip and highly recommended.

If you plan on doing wine tastings, you’ll want to arrange a driver. If you take a tour with Jorge Barefoot Wine and Tours, then he will provide the driver so you can sit back and enjoy the best Douro Valley vineyards.


Road Trip Through Douro Valley Portugal

Douro Valley Vineyards Portugal


Jorge Barefoot Wine And Tours Information



Contact: +351 910 124 025

Price: Douro Wine & Olive Oil Tour – FULL DAY – 150.00€ Price per person


For more on the history of the Douro Valley, Jorge has excellent articles and blog posts. We recommend starting with this one.


A huge thank you to Jorge for inviting us on this tour. All thoughts and opinions are our own.



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