Hi, I’m Bernardo, one of Living Tours guides in Porto!
Port wine production is surrounded by secrets and mystery. I would like to explain to you why the wine used to be carried down the river from the Douro valley, where is produced, until Gaia where the wine ages.
The main and most important reason is the climate one. In the Douro gets extremely cold in the winter and very hot in the summer. Those differences in temperature are not good for the aging process and in the past, there was no knowledge or technology that let them keep the wine in the right conditions in the Douro. But also because it was from Porto that was shipped.
But why are the cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia and not in Porto? Once again is a climate reason. The wind and the solar exposure makes this side colder and therefore better to keep the wine.
There is also an economic reason because the taxes used to be paid directly to the bishop and the bishop was in Porto.
Finally, the South Bank of the river has a geography which was easier for the boats to park.
Now you know why the winemakers used to transport the wine from the Douro valley to Gaia. Well, just don't forget to visit the best Port Wine Cellars!
Considered a UNESCO World Heritage since 2001, the Douro valley is one of the few places in the world where the human intervention did not destroy nature but by contrary take the most from it.