Essência do Vinho (Pt: The Essence of Wine) is the most important wine event in Portugal. It is organized once a year on the third or fourth weekend of February. Until today it was always organized in the city of Porto at the Palácio da Bolsa. The wine event usually lasts four days. The first two days are for the people from wine industry. The last two days (usually the weekend) are open to the public. In 2023 the event takes place from 23th to 26th of February. Although experts from all over the world come to Essência do Vinho you do not need to be an expert to participate in the event. It is about having fun and getting to know the wine culture of Portugal.
An additional attraction is the place where the event is organized: the beautiful interiors of the Palácio da Bolsa. If you are looking for extraordinary attractions in Porto that are not mentioned in the touristic guides then I strongly encourage you to participate in the Essência do Vinho event and visit the Palácio da Bolsa.
Facts about Essência do Vinho
In 2019, the Essência do Vinho fair was visited by 20,000 people, 35% of whom were foreigners. In 2020, over 4,000 wines from 400 producers, both Portuguese and foreign, were exhibited at the event. Every year, a jury of experts from 50 countries will select the TOP 10 Vinhos Portugueses (TOP 10 Portuguese Wines). It is the oldest competition in the country, organized since 2006 to highlight and strengthen the position of excellent Portuguese wines on the world market. During the event, there are numerous lectures, workshops and special tastings, in which you can participate for an additional fee. The highlight is the spectacular opening of bottles of port wines from the 19th century (using the old methods, without the aid of a corkscrew).
Where Essência do Vinho takes place?
Essência do Vinho event takes place in the Palácio da Bolsa. It’s a palace in the center of Porto built in the 19th century by the city’s Trade Association. Thanks to the enchanting architecture and the neoclassical decor style the building has been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Richly decorated interiors are breathtaking. I can assure you that you will not forget the beauty of Salão Árabe (Arabian Salon) for a long time. The Palácio da Bolsa is located right in the touristic center of Porto. It’s easily reachable on foot or by public transport.
How Essência do Vinho works?
You don’t need to be a wine connoisseur to attend Essência do Vinho, all the wine lovers are welcome. Just buy a ticket and the sommeliers will take care of the rest. Essência do Vinho is a paradise for enophiles. It is worth buying tickets well in advance. You can do it on the website (around 20 euro) or buy it on the spot. The second option can be more expensive and the number of tickets is limited).
At the entrance to the event, after presenting the ticket, you get a wine glass. You can go to each stand and ask for a bit of wine from the bottle you have indicated. You can try as much as you like, go ahead. All of the wine exhibitors speak English and they are very pleased with the interest in Portugal and Portuguese wines expressed by the foreigners. Ask, smile and it is very possible that someone will pull a special bottle from behind the counter especially for you.
Purchase online www.essenciadovinhoporto.com
Tickets can be purchased at the entrance on the day of the event but will be a bit more expensive,
Accommodation in Porto
Going to Porto and looking for accommodation? Would you like to stay in a nice and comfortable apartment in the center? I highly recommend Porto Accommodation. The host is Polish girl Dorota, who has been living in Porto for over a decade! Dorota works as a tourist guide for groups – pilgrimages and recreational groups – as well as for individual tourists. She offers not only accommodation: Dorota explains what to see, marks on a map interesting places that cannot be found in guidebooks. She recommends regional dishes and restaurants, as well as helps to plan the days of the trip according to the individual preferences of guests.
Accommodation in my apartments is more than just a place to sleep. Contact with me is not limited to handing over the keys: it is help, tips and advice that will make your stay in Porto special. All my guests enjoy a free visit to one of the oldest port wine cellars where my friend Joao is the manager.-Dorota
The offer of tourist accommodation at Dorota’s (to be booked on AirBnb), can be found HERE