WOW – World of Wine, in Vila Nova de Gaia, started out by exploring the world of wines, in a place historically linked to port wine. However, the potential was so great that it expanded to include sectors such as Fashion, Chocolate, the History of the city of Porto, temporary exhibitions and countless restaurants, offering different flavours that promise to satisfy different tastes.
The riverside area of Vila Nova de Gaia, which was once warehouses for ageing and bottling port, is now a dynamic quarter with restaurants, cafes and much to explore, and all with an incredible view. The colourful tiled staircase is one of the most photographed attractions of this complex of museum, cultural and gastronomy spaces.
Adrian Bridge, Managing Director of the Fladgate Group – owner of brands such as Fonseca, Taylor’s, Croft and The Yeatman – saw the potential of this historic place. He gradually brought the old warehouses back to life, creating a showcase of what North of Portugal does best, so that the locals can get to know their history better and also to prolong tourists’ stay in the city.
So, what is there to see and do in WOW?
The Wine Experience
The Wine Experience museum is completely dedicated to wine, showing the whole pathway from planting and the soil to the consumer. It doesn’t just focus on port, but on all Portuguese wines. The knowledge is shared so that those who know little do not feel overwhelmed and so that connoisseurs can learn something extra. The museum answers questions such as: Shall we demystify wine? What types of wine exist and how do you tell them apart and appreciate them?
Porto Region Across The Ages
It is a museum about the rich history of the Porto Region, as well as encompassing the periods of the Discoveries, the French Invasions, the Industrial Revolution and the best of what this region does. The conquests, the defeats and everything that makes Porto and its inhabitants unique and inimitable. It is very worthwhile, as you will learn many curious facts about the history of the Cidade Invicta [Undefeated City].
The Chocolate Story
It’s a delicious journey! The Chocolate Museum takes us on an interesting, educational and fun adventure through the history of chocolate. The museum takes us on a journey from the cocoa bean, to the distant civilisations which discovered it, the plantations and the evolution of marketing over the years. At the end, you can watch chocolate being made and get personalised chocolates from WOW’s own brand, VinteVinte.
Cork is one of our country’s most important products (we are the world’s largest producer). This Cork Museum explores – in partnership with Corticeira Amorim – the whole production process and all cork’s usefulness, in an interactive way, from cork stoppers to fashion and the coating of spaceships or cars, just to give a few examples. It is an example of an industry with a positive environmental impact.
Porto Fashion & Fabric Museum
The Fashion and Fabric Museum highlights an industry of great importance in our country, which is especially significant in the North region. The entire process is explored, from the raw material (the origin of the cotton), to the factories, the designs and the final product, created by some of the best Portuguese designers. Footwear and filigree also have a prominent place here. The chapel, which is inserted in the building, is also worth visiting. The design is attributed to the architect Nicolau Nasoni.
The Bridge Collection
Here you will find one of the largest private collections of glasses and goblets, belonging to Adrian Bridge, the CEO of the Fladgate Group. There are over 1,500 items dating back to times such as Ancient Greece or Medieval Europe, exploring the rituals of those periods and all the inherent history. A unique history that takes us on a journey back to 7000 BC.
The Pink Palace
This museum is an eccentric journey through the history of rosé wine, made in Portugal and throughout the world. This museum is different in the way it approaches the science and cultivation of rosé wine, highlighting the aesthetics and lifestyle of the world in pink, with very appealing scenarios. Visitors have the opportunity to taste five different styles of wine, to immerse themselves in the experience, tasting and learning how versatile rosé wine can be.
A complete experience that goes way beyond
This cultural quarter also has 12 restaurants and bars, with distinctive gastronomic experiences. It also offers sporadic wine workshops, chocolate tasting and the pairing of both, in partnership with the WOW Wine School. Here, both beginners and connoisseurs will be able to expand their knowledge.
You can purchase tickets for the specific museum you want to visit, or you can buy entry packs for 2, 3 or 5 museums. Get more information about prices here.
Source: text taken from Viaje Comigo – Susana Ribeiro
Photos by: © Viaje Comigo