2012 Douro Trip


Portugal, here we come  .  .  . JOIN US


Portugal, here we come  .  .  .

Itinerary has new dates and other changes


Portugal, here we come  .  .  .

Revised January 11, 2011

Just the essentials  .  .  .

Our wine tour departs Sunday, May 6, 2012, and returns Monday, May 14. Travel to Portugal is on Air Transat. Hotel stays are in the small town of Peso da Régua in the Douro Region and Porto.


Experience the Douro from the terraced vineyards to the Port Houses in Oporto. Discover why the city of Oporto is a Unesco World Heritage Site.


The Douro region, the first demarcated wine region in the World and also a World Heritage Site, is blessed with an incredible climate for growing vines and fruit trees. It has heat coupled with a plentiful supply of water from the rivers, but the terrain is harsh and mountainous, necessitating much human toil. For centuries, Portugal’s Douro Valley has been renowned for its fortified wines. In recent years, a quiet revolution has been taking place and a new generation of winemakers have been turning their minds and skills to making top quality table wines from the classic port grape varieties from complex reds to the refreshing vinho verde.


There are five high quality red varietals used for the production of Douro and port wine: tinta roriz (also called aragonez), touriga franca, touriga nacional, tinta barroca and tinta cão, all natives of Portugal.


Today, there are two distinctly different ways of making a Douro wine. The traditional method, where the grapes are trod in a lagar – a wide, shallow granite tank – produces wines with more colour and tannins which generally improves their potential for ageing. There is also a more modern method where the wines are made in stainless steel tanks under controlled temperatures. The latter wines are more elegant and the aromas of the wine are better preserved. Some winemakers use both winemaking techniques in order to obtain more complex wines.


Details of stops along the way are on the following pages.


We end in Porto, magnificently situated on the great banks of the River Douro, which spills into the Atlantic after its scenic 927 km journey from Spain. The ‘granite city’ is best known for its striking bridges.


Our tour includes a buffet breakfast each morning, five winery lunches and six dinners.


Tour extensions are available and can be arranged through José Duarte.


The financial basics are as follows:


  • Price is $1960 + taxes of $335. For Air Transat Club Seats add $200 each way. Single supplement is $220. Price is subject to adjustment due to volatile CAD/Euro exchange rate.


  • A deposit of $200 is due upon booking. Payment is by cheque, Visa or MasterCard. The full balance is due March 22, 2012. (if paying by cheque you may deduct $60 pp.)


  • Escorted by José Duarte.


  • Capacity is limited. Bookings are on a first come, first served basis.



The Itinerary

(highlighted stops are described on next page)

Sun. May 06     Overnight flight Toronto / Porto on Air Transat

Mon. May 07     Private bus transfer from Porto Airport to Peso da Regua

Check in at 4* Hotel Regua Douro. Time to rest.

Dinner at the hotel.

Tue. May 08      Visit Museu do Douro. Boat ride with lunch from Regua to Pinhao

Visit / wine tasting and dinner at Quinta do Crasto


Wed. May 09     Visit / tasting Alves de Sousa wines at Quinta da Gaivosa

                        Visit / tasting at Quinta do Seixo with picnic lunch

                        Visit / tasting Murganheira Champagne Cellars

                        Dinner on your own.

Thu. May 10     Check out

Drive to Vila Real via Sabrosa

Lunch at Pousada do Marao

Stop in Amarante

Visit / tasting at Quinta da Aveleda

Drive to Porto

                        Check in at 4* Hotel Vila Gale Porto

                        Dinner at the hotel

Fri. May 11       Porto city tour including Casa da Musica & lunch

                        Visit Cork Factory / Sta Maria de Lamas

                        Dinner at Taylor’s Port Cellars with blind port wine tasting

Sat. May 12      Full day tour of Brejoeira Palace, Braga & Guimaraes with lunch

                        Dinner on your own.

Sun. May 13     Shopping day

                        Farewell dinner at the hotel

Mon. May 14     Transfer to Porto Airport for flight to Toronto via Faro.

Places along the route in chronological order


Hotel Régua Douro, Peso da Régua (3 nights w bkfst)

Offers a splendid view of the Douro River and the green mountainous landscape. Rooms offer satellite TV and are air conditioned. Each has a minibar.


Museu Do Douro, Peso da Régua

The Douro Museum is an expression of the area’s cultural identity and is also a wine museum. Museo do Douro web site www.museudodouro.pt/ in Portuguese only.


Quinta do Crasto

Located on the right bank of the Douro River, halfway between Régua and Pinhão. The quinta covers 130 hectares, of which 70 are planted. It has been in the family of Leonor and Jorge Roquette for over a century. References to Quinta do Crasto date as far back as the early seventeenth century. Large investments were made to restructure the vineyards and install modern winery equipment. While using state-of-the-art vinification technology, the quinta has retained its traditional foot treading method in “lagares”.


Alves de Sousa – Portuguese Producer of the Year 2006 and 1999

Alves de Sousa uses only grapes from his own estates: truly unique terroirs of the region’s natural varietals. He received the “Producer of the Year” award in 1999 and again in 2006 by Portuguese Wine Magazine (“Revista de Vinhos”), becoming the first to receive the prestigious distinction twice. A great review can be found at www.alvesdesousa.pt


Quinta do Seixo, Pinhao

An ancient Sandeman property with 99 hectares of vineyards and a modern winery. After a brief ownership by the Seagram Company, Portugal’s Sogrape Group bought Sandeman in 2002 to join their other wine brands, including Ferreira Port and Mateus. Robotic lagars closely replicate the traditional method of treading port grapes.



Murganheira is in the fertile land of the Valley of Varosa where the Douro and the Beira meet. Founded over 50 years ago, it has combined the virtues of mother nature with an age-old wisdom to produce the best sparkling wines in the country.


The Pousada do Marão, São Gonçalo

A nature hotel set on the Marão Mountain Range 20km from the town of Amarante. The Pousada is the perfect place to enjoy the magnificent landscapes of the mountains and the Tâmega valley. The splendor of the view is matched by the excellent quality of the cuisine.


Quinta da Aveleda

A name which spans several generations. The first records of the sale of bottled wine date back to 1870, with Manuel Pedro Guedes (1837-1899).


Today the Guedes family still owns 100% of the company. The 4th generation includes six siblings: Fernando, Luís, António, Maria Isabel, Maria Helena and Roberto – who today manage the company’s future.


Hotel Vila Galé Porto (4 nights w breakfast)

Top-quality 4-star service in the centre of Porto. Porto’s best shopping district in the Rua de Santa Catarina is only a short distance. Direct access to Porto’s modern subway. http://www.vilagale.pt


Santa Maria de Lamas …………..is a small town just south of Porto where cork factories make cork stoppers for wine bottles.


Taylor’s Port

Taylor is accepted by most wine authorities to be the greatest of all port shippers, famous especially for its sublime and long-lived vintage ports, and for old, distinguished, Tawny ports. But Taylor’s is also an innovative house, pioneering the successful Late Bottled Vintage style. Now in its fourth century, the company is still thriving, with wine quality remaining the firm’s only consideration.


We will enjoy dinner at their restaurant and have the best view of the city of Porto from the hills on the south side — Vila Nova de Gaia.


Brejoeira Palace

Erected in the early years of the nineteenth century, construction lasted until 1834. Around 1901, the palace was sold to Pedro Araujo Maria da Fonseca, who carried out restoration work, adding a chapel and a theater. In the 1960s, the palace was acquired by Feliciano Pereira dos Anjos, who constructed a modern winery and in 1977 launched Alvarinho “Brejoeira Palace”. Today the palace belongs to Maria Herminia Oliveira Paes, together with the heirs of her late husband Feliciano Pereira.



The oldest Portuguese city and one of the oldest christian cities in the world. Braga is the largest city in Portugal after Lisbon and Oporto.



Settled in the 9th century, it is a historical city that had an important role in the formation of Portugal. Its historical center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is often referred to as the “birthplace of the Portuguese nationality” or “the cradle city”.


Portugal May 6-14, 2012

The travel details




  • Rt airfare to/from Portugal on Air Transat A310 Y Class flights
  • Seven nights **** hotel accommodation; three in Peso da Régua; four in Vila Gale Porto in Oporto; hotel taxes & service charges.
  • Daily buffet breakfast at the hotels
  • Five lunches at wineries
  • Six group dinners
  • Douro cruise from Regua to Pinhao
  • Sightseeing tour of Porto, Braga, Guimaraes, cork factory.
  • Private deluxe air condirioned bus
  • Portuguese/English speaking tour guides. Escorted by José Duarte.


Price per person

  • DBL OCC $1960 + airport taxes & transportation fees of $335.
  • SGL OCC add $220
  • Air Transat Club Seats (J Class), $200 extra each way. (limited # of seats)



  • A deposit of $200 is due upon booking. Payment is by cheque, Visa or MasterCard. The full balance is due March 22, 2012.
  • Cancellation insurance (if desired) Y Class $50; J Class $60. Holiday insurance and any items of a personal nature are not included.
  • Payment by Visa, MasterCard or cheque payable to VistaSol Tours. If paying by cheque, deduct $60/per person.


José Duarte, Manager

VistaSol Tours
1710 – 2 Carlton Street

Toronto, ON  M5B 1J3


fax 416 598 9616

e-mail: jduarte@vistasol.ca

Booking Form

Body & Soul of Portugal

Trip to Portugal May 6-14, 2012


Send to:

José Duarte, Manager

VistaSol Tours

1710 – 2 Carlton Street

Toronto, ON  M5B 1J3


Fax: 416 598 9616

e-mail: jduarte@vistasol.ca


Enclosed find $200 deposit cheque payable to VistaSol Tours or Visa / MasterCard credit card information.

Full name(s) as they appear on passport:


1) _________________________________________________________________________________________


Date of birth: _______________________


2) _________________________________________________________________________________________


Date of birth: _______________________


Address ____________________________________________________________________________________


City, postal code _____________________________________________________________________________


Phone __________________________


E-mail _____________________________________________________________________________________


Visa / MasterCard Number __________________________________


Expiry ____ / ____


Name on card _____________________________________________


Basic flight and accommodations, including tax ___ person(s) @ $2295.                       _______________

Air Transat Club Class (J) ____ @ $200 (one way) =                                                      _______________

Air Transat Club Class (J) ____ @ $400 (both ways) =                                                   _______________

Cancellation Insurance (if desired) Y Class $50; J Class $60. ____ @ $____ =                _______________

Single supplement, if applicable, $220 =                                                                      _______________

Deduct $60 per person if paying by cheque                                                                  _______________

Additional fee for non-members of Body & Soul Wine Club ____ @ $150                      _______________

TOTAL =                                                                                                                    _______________


Please contact José Duarte directly for any special requirements.




________________________      ____________________

Signature                                              Date

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