What an incredible few days – The perfect serve of extraordinary port, inspiring experiences, delicious food and pinkness! How to do justice to each element of the trip in a short summary is impossible, but suffice to say that the trip was unique, educational, informative, fun and inspiring.

Following a welcome dinner, when we arrived the next day, we set to business. We had our conference in an extraordinarily beautiful meeting room at the Infantes Sagres hotel – definitely one of the most elaborate meeting rooms I have been in. Next, we had a tour around the Taylor’s visitor centre, followed by lunch at the Taylor’s Barão Fladgate Restaurant, before we were whisked into WOW for a presentation from Adrian Bridge on Wine Tourism and the developments in the vineyards.

The first foray into WOW came next –  It is a phenomenal district of culture encompassing museum experiences, restaurants and shops – all of which have been built in the century old Port cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, transforming the area and highlighting the most important Portuguese industries and traditions. We managed to squeeze as much as possible into our jam-packed itinerary.First of the ‘experiences’ was Planet Cork which highlights the huge importance to Portugal of the World of Corks. Portugal accounts for over 50% of global production and is harvested from more than 730 hectares of forest. It was an educational but fun experience- I even managed to beat some of my colleagues and ‘corked’ the most bottles in one of the interactive games….I only broke a few!!

We split into two groups, and I chose the Fashion and Fabric museum, where we took a fascinating tour to learn about fabrics, from the raw materials right through to the end garment. The Pink Palace was the next on the agenda. It was undoubtedly the most fun I’ve had tasting wine! It describes itself as  ‘An exaggerated, flamboyant and sensory experience that immerses visitors in the world of Rosé’…well, it didn’t disappoint. Every room where you taste a different pink wine is set up to capture photos and create shareable memorable moments.

Thursday morning was a tour of the production centre, which was fascinating. The sheer scale of the operation and the attention to detail and organisation required to manage is incredible, from automated lines to hand packaging. We even saw the Taylor’s Platinum Jubilee Very Very Old port being packaged up, ready to commemorate Her Majesty The Queen’s 70 years of service and the extended Jubilee weekend at the start of June.

The Chocolate Story was well received all round. Who knew to hold your nose while chewing chocolate will flood your senses with enhanced flavours once released. Taylor’s Chip Dry white port certainly made the 100% chocolate taste palatable!

A sneak preview in the afternoon of the new Fonseca visitor centre, which is nearly ready for opening, is definitely worth a visit.


The last of the ‘experiences’ was The Wine Experience, dedicated to both amateur and experienced wine enthusiasts alike and is a lighthearted yet informative way to learn about how wine is made and the defining effect of different terroirs, climates and grape varieties.

On the last morning, we had an extensive tasting of the Taylor’s, Fonseca and Croft port range; a good kick start to the final day. After our tasting, and before a final farewell lunch at the Yeatman hotel, we were lucky enough to be taken through The Bridge Collection by Adrian Bridge – it was an extraordinary and insightful walk through the history, customs and rituals of drinking vessels over the last 9,000 years.