The Sandeman Port Wine Warehouse entrance is right on the southern banks of the River Douro in the heart of Porto in Portugal. It is one of the most popular venues to go on a port wine tasting tour. There are many different Port producing companies on the south bank of the river and most offer tours. Some are free but you have to pay to go on the Sandeman Port tour. It is worth the money. The ticket prices are not expensive.
The Sandeman Port Wine Company Warehouse entrance on the south bank of the River Douro in Porto
The Sandeman Port Company is the easiest to find, unlike my favourite Port Wine Company Warehouse tour, Taylors, which is right on top of the hill in the back streets. Because Sandemans does not require the tourist any effort to find it can be crowded during the peak of the tourist season. If you want a more personnel port tasting tour try visiting one of the other companies that do not attract the same level of visitors.
The Sandeman Tour guides are all dressed as the Don, the man used as the company logo in a long black cape and rimmed hat. They take you a tour of the cellars after an introductory chat on the history of the company, its vineyards and the port wine production process.
This is the view of the river Douro from the front of the Sandeman Company Warehouse entrance
Visitors are then taken to the tasting room where they are given a glass of Sandeman Ruby and Tawny port wines. There is a more expensive, longer tour for those with a particular interest in finding out more in-depth information about Porto port wines produced by the Sandeman company.
Tours are available in Portuguese, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch and English. In winter (Nov - Feb) the tours start at 9:30 AM. In the summer (March - Oct) the Sandeman tours start at 10 o'clock. There is a break for lunch at 12.30 pm. Tours restart at 2 pm. The last two starts around 4 PM and the building closes at 5:30 PM in the winter season and 6 o'clock in the summer.
In the summer during the busy period it is better to reserve a place on a tour in advance so as not to be disappointed. The staff on the front desk of your hotel may be able to do this for you. Make sure that they book a tour being run by a guide that speaks your language.
This is the ornamental back gate of the Sandeman Port Wine Company
Sandeman's port wine cave is very modern looking compared with some of the other companies in Porto. The Sandeman tour winds through their port wine wooden barrels like all the other port wine warehouse tours, except on this tour you can see the bottles that have been aging since the early 1900′s.
At the end of the visit to the cellars your guide does not take you straight to the tasting room but instead ushers you into a small cinema where you are shown a 10 minute film on where the grapes are grown and how the grape juice is fermented down river, about an hour away from Porto. The whole tour takes around 40 minutes to complete. Your entrance ticket acts as a discount coupon in the Sandeman wine shop.
If you are staying in Porto for a couple of days then leave your visit to the winecellars for a day where rain has been forecast. Conversely if you are visiting Porto at the height of summer when temperatures can be very hot, a trip around the warehouses can help you cool down.
The guides on the Sandeman Port Wine tasting tour dress-up as the company logo Don