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It is located right next to the beautiful train station of Pinhão and it was exactly by train that I went there, curious to see the Quinta that won the Best of Wine Tourism award in the categories of wine tourism and global winner, awards given by the Great Wine Capitals in the 2017 edition.
Visiting Quinta do Bomfim is above all to know more about the fascinating history of the Symington family, one of the oldest wine-producing families, and of Andrew James Symington, who arrived in Portugal in 1882, and quickly fell in love with the Douro and bequeathing his family and the following generations his passion.
The Symingtons are in fact the largest owners of Quintas in the Douro, with about 28 quintas.
It was only in 2015, however, that the Symington Family decided to restore the Quinta by preparing it to be its visitor centre par excellence.
The tour begins at the museum, where the old wine cellar operated, and where we trace the inheritance and richness of the family's legacy through several images and texts grouped by theme and on display on the walls - all religiously taken from a diary that chronicled the life on the quinta.
Memories that are shown to us with the fervor of those who work there and guide us through these images almost with the same passion of Andrew for his quinta, taking each visitor back to the 1912s and subsequent years, recreating stories of that time, such as the existence of Malaria, floods, but also all the work in the vineyards and the transportation of wine from the Douro to the Cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia by the charismatic rabelo boats.
There is even a faithful and detailed replica of a rabelo boat produced by the Navy Museum, in tribute to this means of transport.
The tour also includes the lagar (winepress) and a films that shows the intense days of the grape harvest, showing the process of the traditional treading, a process that is no longer used in Quinta do Bomfim, now they have another method that replicates the human foot.
I then went to the warehouse, that was practically untouched, with its timbers, mashing tubs, and barrels, and where the wine matures.
To walk through the vineyards, each visitor has 3 routes to choose from: a short route (20min), a long route (1h30) and an intermediate route - ending at Casa dos Ecos.
Casa dos Ecos is strategically located in the middle of the vineyards, being one of the most breathtaking views overlooking the terraces and the surrounding river.
It is there that one can stop for a picnic, or simply to take in the wonder of the landscape.
A landscape that mirrors well the magic of the days spent in Douro ....
Almost at the end of my tour, I tasted three different Port wines, a Dow's tawny 10 years, a Dow's LBV and a Dow's vintage 1985, three nectars that fit the landscape and that moment in perfect harmony.
It should be mentioned that Dow's is the Port wine brand produced at Quinta do Bomfim, which has been awarded several international prizes, the Wine Spectator awarded a perfect 100 points for Dow's 2007, and later in 2014 ranked first place in the Top Ten of the magazine Wine Spectator with Dow's Vintage 2011.
Awards and places that raise and confirm Portugal as one of the places of excellence in wine tourism, making the visit to the Douro region, in particular, one of the most memorable experiences one can have.
Text and photos by: Paula Calheiros
Quinta do Bomfim,
5085 – 060 Pinhão, Alijó
visits: 10:30am – 7pm
T: +351 254 730 730