The Wine Tour to the dynamic Alentejo, with a visit to the Setúbal peninsula and the legendary muscatel wines
— When the weather is still warm in the fall we visit Portugal, one of the most exciting wine countries in Europe right now. We cover two Portuguese wine regions during these days. We spend a day at the Setúbal peninsula and two days in the Alentejo, Portugal’s largest region where vines cork oaks abound. Modern world-class reds and whites contrast with almost mythical moscatel de setubal.
Alentejo covers almost a third of Portugal’s surface. But only 4% of the population lives here. In other words, it is a wide open and very rural landscape which has a very special charm. It is lush and green in the spring, drier and browner in the fall.
Alentejo is the home of the cork oak forests, gut the share some space with vines, olive trees and pine trees. And the occasional black pig (which is a delicious Alentejo specialty!) that runs loose and feasts on plenty of acorns.
It was in the Alentejo that the new wave of quality progress started for the Portuguese wines. For many years now, producers in the Alentejo have won awards for their full-bodied, fruity red wines. And the quality has just continued to improve. Many entrepreneurs have come here to grow wine. Large investments have been made in this previously rather poor region. Today we find both small and large wine estates, red and white wines, good everyday wines and top-quality wines in the Alentejo.
Portugal, and not least Alentejo, has its own local grape varieties. During the journey we will encounter many of them: Antão Vaz, Arinto, Fernão Pires, roupeiro, alfrocheiro, Castelao, Trincadeira and many more. You can find French varieties too but they have fortunately not manage to take over. Portugal is keen to preserve its uniqueness.
In addition to the Alentejo we will visit the Terras do Sado on the Setubal peninsula just south of Lisbon. On the Setúbal peninsula vineyards coexist with beautiful national parks, olive groves, golf courses (we’re close to the capital) and long sandy beaches. Here they make red wines from the Castelão grape. This grape thrives in the sandy soil. The area is also well known for the amazing sweet wine called Moscatel de Setubal.
Wine is not the only thing that you will experience on this trip. We will have plenty of opportunities to explore the Portuguese gastronomy. Another important and very enjoyable aspect is how to match wine and food. Our lunches usually include a tasting of the wines from one of the producers, which gives us plenty of opportunities to sample and discuss.
There will be many different specialties during the three days: charcuterie, wonderful cured ham (as good as the Spanish), lovely stews, cheeses etc. We will taste several different wines at the lunches so that you get a good feeling for the Portuguese food and wine parings.
You make your own way to Lisbon (and back hom), the beautiful capital of Portugal. Here we stay the first and the last nights of the tour. The second and third nights we stay in Alentejo, in the amazing historic town of Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Evora is an adorable little town, a mix of different styles, medieval houses, Renaissance, and Moorish style. It is magical and time-travelling to get lost in the narrow streets in the evening!
The tour is led by one of BKWine’s wine and travel expert guides.
We have written a lot about the Alentejo and about wine touring in the region, what to do and what to expect.
Here you can find more about travelling in the Alentejo.
You can also find more information on the Alentejo wines on BKWine Magazine.
Program — Alentejo and Setubal wine tour
For more details, contact BKWine.
- Day 1, Wednesday — Arrival in Lisbon
- Day 2, Thursday — The Setúbal peninsula, Terras do Sado
- Day 3, Friday — Alentejo, east of Evora
- Day 4, Saturday — Alentejo, south of Evora
- Day 5, Sunday — Heading back home
Wednesday, October 25 — arrival in Lisbon
You arrive in Lisbon and check-in at our centrally located hotel, a stone’s throw from the main Avenida da Liberdade.
Lisbon is a city made for strolling around in. But it is a city that is built on hills so it can be nice to sit down in one of the charming trams – looking like antiques – to get around once in a while. One tram line goes straight through the old quarter.
The city is beautifully situated on the River Tejo estuary. The city being built on hills means that there are many fantastic vantage points where you can look out over the city and Atlantic Ocean.
There are of course countless restaurants. Often they are small and intimate. You can find plenty of seafood and one of our favourites, grilled sardines. You find the very best grilled sardines in Portugal! Drop in to some bar later in the evening and listen to the fado, the traditional Portuguese singing.
The evening is free to discover some of the city’s restaurants and cafes as well as other attractions.
Thursday, October 26 — The Setúbal peninsula, Terras do Sado
Our bus will pick us up in the morning at the hotel in Lisbon. We travel south of the river, to the Setubal peninsula. Crossing the river, we can view the huge Christ statue from the bridge, inspired by the one in Rio.
We have an hour’s journey ahead of us and our target is the small village of Azeitão. Setubal is a beautiful area and very popular with Lisbon residents for weekend excursions. The proximity to the big city has meant that some wineries have given way to property developments but the wine industry is still important.
The two main grapes are the white muscatel and the red castelão. The sweet wines of Muscat d’ Alexandrie are legendary, some of the most complex sweet wines in the world.
Castelão is a grape that is quite difficult to grow but it works very well here. It has become famous not least thanks to JM da Fonseca’s Periquita. But other grapes grow here too and if a producer wants to have the freedom to choose almost any grape then he can choose to sell his wines as Vinho Regional Terras do Sado.
Here on the Setúbal peninsula we will visit the highly renowned producer José Maria da Fonseca in Azeitão. We will have a tour of beautiful buildings, their historic collection, and the impressive cellars (the Periquita cellar, the Moscatel cellar…). After the wine tasting we will stay at of Fonseca’s and enjoy a delicious lunch together with some well-chosen wines from their range.
We will have the time for an afternoon visit on our way towards Evora.
Late afternoon we arrive at our hotel in Evora. The hotel is very central. After checking in, you have the evening free to explore this amazing city. Don’t miss an evening walk past the cathedral and the incredible Roman temple.
Friday, October 27 — Alentejo, east of Evora
Our bus will pick us up in the morning at the hotel. Today we go to the east. We take the opportunity to look at all the cork oaks that we drive past and learn what the curious number markings mean.
Portugal has the largest cork oak plantings in the world with more than 700,000 hectares, most of it in the Alentejo.
We are making our way towards the city Reguengos de Monsaraz. Near the town we arrive at one of Portugal’s most renowned wine estates, Esporão. Here some of the Alentejo’s most prized wines are made. We will visit their magnificent winery and lodge. In the winery they work organically and sustainably and experiment with different ways to farm environmentally friendly. Both plants and animals thrive around the vineyards.
After the wine tasting we will have an aperitif and then we stay and enjoy a gastronomic lunch at Esporão. The chefs at Esporão have developed a new modernistic Portuguese cuisine with local ingredients.
The afternoon visit will be at an the interesting property owned by the José de Sousa Rosado et Fernandes. This is an impressive, very modern facility that combines old and new. For example, it has revived the ancient Roman tradition of fermenting wine in amphorae.
Late afternoon we are back in Evora. The evening is free for your own discoveries.
Saturday, October 28 — Alentejo, south of Evora
After breakfast we check-out of the hotel and load our luggage in the bus. Then we head south towards the small towns of Vidigueira and Cuba (indeed!).
Our morning visit is at the Herdade do Rocim winery. This is a fairly new estate of over 100 hectares of which 70 hectares are currently planted with vines. In addition, they have 10 hectares of olive trees and make their own very fine olive oil.
The new owners, who took over in 2000, have modernised, restructured and made new plantings. The new wine cellar is built to blend into the landscape.
After the visit and the wine tasting we continue south, towards Beja. Here we will visit Herdade da Mingorra, a family farm run by Henrique Uva with good help from his daughter Sophia. This is a property with great ambition and excellent quality.
We first make a short visit to the winery and then it is time for a traditional Portuguese lunch – as guests at the home of the Uva family – with a large number of wines, sparkling, white, red and sweet. We promise a very interesting collection of wines.
After lunch it’s time to head back to Lisbon. We expect to arrive at the hotel early evening.
We check into our hotel and you have the evening free to further explore this amazing city.
Sunday, October 29 — Heading back home
The tour ends after breakfast. Departure.
Program may be subject to minor modifications.
Tour Details — Wine tour to Alentejo and Setubal in Portugal
Dates: October 25-29, 2017
Price per person: 1300 euro
Single room supplement: 210 euro
Included in the price:
- 4 hotel nights, double occupancy, including breakfast
- 2 nights in Lisboon at four-star Hotel Inspira Santa Marta
- 2 nights in Evora, at four-star Hotel M’Ar De Ar Muralhas
- Meals as described in the program above (*):
- 3 gastronomic Portuguese multi-course lunches with local specialities, including wines, as guest at wineries
- Start and end point: Lisbon
- Bus transport during the whole trip
- All vineyard and winery visits
- Private, high quality tastings at wineries, approx. 2 per day
- Visits will be in English
- Wine guiding and wine tutoring by an expert BKWine guide
(*) See below for more important information on our meals.
- Travel (flights) to the destination and back from your home location.
You organise your travel to Lisbon yourself. If you want assistance with organising your flight tickets etc, please contact us.
We warmly recommend that you plan a few extra days here if you have the time! It is a very interesting place and well worth some “non-wine” tourism too! We can assist you with booking additional hotel nights if you want.
For this trip to take place we must have a minimum of 10 participants registered at the “book before” date.
Book This Tour
Book before: July 15, 2017
Booking is confirmed by paying the booking fee of 300 EUR. Full payment should be received at the latest one month before the departure date (see our terms and conditions). Details on how to pay will be sent to you when you register.
You book by contacting Britt Karlsson, BKWine:
- phone: +33 1 58 88 04 66 or +33 6 80 45 35 70 (+33 is the country code for France)
- Skype: “bkwine”. Call us on skype.
- email: email@example.com
More on our wine tours
About the wine producers and wineries we visit
Our aim is that you shall experience some of the best and most interesting that the wine region has to offer, both of wine and food.
We put a big effort into finding and creating outstanding winery visits. Often it will not be the most “famous” and internationally well-known wineries that will give you the best and most unique experiences…
It is usually when you get to meet the winemaker or winery owner himself (or often herself) that the visits become really exciting. And perhaps we even meet the whole family at the estate.
You start discussing and start to understand what it is they do and why in the winery and in the vineyard. Maybe we will also have lunch in the winery or at their home. Need we say we invariably have private wine tastings at the wineries?
That is why our trips are not “jam packed” with visits at wineries. Nevertheless we often run short of time since the discussions – and the wine tastings – can easily become very engaging…
Our wine country tours typically include a mix of small family producers, exclusive boutique wineries and larger internationally well-known wine estates, all selected with great care so that it will give you a unique experience of the people and of the behind-the-scenes in the winery and a good understanding of the wine district’s characteristics, tradition and culture.
At the time of publishing a travel program not all visits have been finalised. We are continuously working on improving the program. The domaines / wineries / châteaux that we visit on a tour may therefore sometimes differ from what was written in the original program. Contact us if you want more details, or if you have any special requests.
On meals: food and gastronomy
Wine and food are intimately linked. That is part of our wine travel philosophy; wine is an integral part of the gastronomy.
A wine tour with BKWine will therefore also be a gastronomic experience.
The meals that are included in a tour with BKWine are on a gourmet level and of very high standard.
Sometimes we will have a meal with a winemaker, perhaps in the wine cellar or at the winery, or even in their home. This is a unique experience that is generally not open to other visitors to wineries. It is an occasion to experience exciting combinations of food and wine while discussing with the people who made the wine.
Sometimes we will have a luxurious meal at a gourmet restaurant. At other times it may be not at a prestigious luxury address but at a local restaurant selected for its presentation of local gastronomic specialities, its atmosphere and its quality – a place where locals go. Or perhaps it will be a buffet lunch made at home by the winemaker and his wife. In all cases we want to show you local gastronomic specialities and the local food and wine pairings.
Do not expect a picnic with salad and sausage from the supermarket and wine in plastic mugs… Think instead of a wine-and-dine experience with specially composed menu with three or four courses and delicious wines.
A wine tour with BKWine is also a culinary experience both for the wine enthusiast and for the gourmet. A gourmet wine tour!
Why travel with BKWine?
We are experts and specialists in wine and food tours and wine tourism, but also in wine in a broader perspective.
No other tour operator has a comparable knowledge and experience of wine, wine regions, wine tours and gourmet travel as BKWine.
We have organised hundreds of wine and food tours. This is what we love to do, because it is fun and exciting. What we want more than anything is to share with you all these wonderful experiences.
It does not matter if you are “a total novice” on wine and food or if you have a life-long experience in the wine sector. We will give you a very special experience, in a way that no other tour operator can do.
We write in specialised wine magazines and one of our books has won the prize as best wine book in the world. We are regularly called on to be part of judging panels in wine competitions.
We personally visit some 300 vineyards every year. We have organised several hundreds of wine and food tours with an experience going back more than twenty years. We are invited as speakers at wine tourism and culinary touring conferences.
We choose our tour destinations and winery visits with great care. Not because a winery happens to be carrying a “famous name” but because they will give our guests — you! — a unique and special experience. You may be looking for a short wine week-end holiday or a longer wine vacation; in all cases you can be confident that you will get a top quality tour, an experience of a lifetime. Or at least one that will last you until the next time you come on a wine tour with BKWine. Many of our travellers are returning clients.
A wine and food tour with BKWine is always guided by a knowledgeable and experienced BKWine guide and tour manager, someone who knows the ins and outs of wine, of the local gastronomy, of the culture and who speaks the language.
Some accolades we at BKWine and our wine and food tours have received:
- “World’s Top Wine Tours” by Travel + Leisure Magazine, the world’s biggest travel magazine
- “Best wine tasting holidays”, AOL Travel’s list of top wine tours
- “Recommended Wine Tours” by Munskankarna, the world’s biggest wine tasting and wine appreciation association
- “World’s Best Wine Book for Professionals” as well as “Best Wine Book of the Year” in Sweden 2010 for the book The Creation of a Wine
- “Best wine book for Professionals” again in 2012 in Sweden, as well as silver, runner-up, as “World’s Best Educational Wine Book” for the book Wine and the Environment
- “Wine Personality of the Year” by Munskankarna, the world’s biggest wine tasting and wine appreciation association
- On the Wine Media Power List by Wine Business International Magazine (Britt, 2012)
Read more on why to choose BKWine for a wine and food tour.
Read more on what previous travellers have said about our tours.
Our groups are always small. The group size may vary, sometimes maximum 8, sometimes 20, but always of a modest size (we do not do “minimum 20, maximum 45”). Check the details in each program. This is important since it guarantees a quality experience and a personal welcome at the wineries we visit.
BKWine is a Swedish registered travel organiser. BKWine has a bonded travel guarantee deposit so that you can feel safe when booking with us. We fully comply with European and Swedish travel guarantee regulations. British travellers may be familiar with the ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) protection scheme which is a similar model. BKWine follows the code of conduct and financial safeguards defined by the Swedish Consumer Agency and The Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency (“Kammarkollegiet”, with a history dating back to 1539). Read more about this in our Booking Terms and Conditions.
Read the BKWine Booking Terms and Conditions here. They are important to you!
You organise your travel independently to the destination for most of our tours but on location we take care of everything.
For more inspiration
Read our wine travel blog. And also:
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We also do custom wine and food tours if you want to choose different dates or if you want something different than what we currently offer on our scheduled tours – for individuals, companies, professionals, wine tastings clubs etc.