Road Trip:Portugal! With Ryan Opaz and Catavino Wine Tours

Tackling Northern Portugal With a Little Help
When you travel to a new wine region, do you like to go on your own or do you use a guide? In Europe, we often choose a guide for our first trip as a minimum. Language barriers, crazy drivers, and local knowledge all add up to a much happier experience when we work with a pro.

Disclosure: None! We enjoyed touring with Catavino as normal paying customers. We enjoyed our trip so much, we want to share the experience!

(click on the photo below for a full size view)

Catavino Wine Tours
Ryan Opaz is a Minnesota native who, with his wife Gabriella, picked up stakes and moved to the Iberian peninsula back in 2005, eventually settling in Portugal and starting their own custom tour business, Catavino. We had the opportunity to meet Ryan and Gabriella when they visited the Twin Cities last year, and we put Portugal on our list to visit. We had some free time on our last trip to Europe, and we decided Portugal would be warmer than most of France in early December!

Me (left) with Ryan (right) and our guide at Covela, Paula.

Custom Tours
Catavino will set up an itinerary customized to your wishes. They have spent years in the area and know secrets first time tourists will never discover on their own. We flew into Porto on a Monday and left early on Friday morning. In just a few days, Ryan gave us a great introduction to the culture, foods and wines of the region. Much more than just a wine tour, you’ll learn about life in the region.

Public Service Announcement: If you go, make sure you bring your favorite motion sickness medication. The roads in Portugal give “twisty and turny” new meaning!

Day 1 – Vinho Verde and Covela Winery
To make the most of our time, Ryan picked us up at the airport and whisked us away into the start of our tour. No time wasted! Our first destination was the Quinta de Covela winery in Vinho Verde. Covela grapes are organically farmed, and wines are fermented using native yeasts.

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Day 2 – Douro Immersion – Quevedo Winery visit, lunch, Douro river cruise, Regua and the Original Douro Hotel
Day 2, we left our hotel in the town of Regua early in the morning, headed up the Douro river. We spent the day up in the Port wine vineyards. After a scenic (you did remember your motions sickness meds, right?) drive upriver, we headed to Quevedo Port Wine where we spent the entire morning touring the vineyards, winery, and crawling through the cellar tasting from huge barrels. No better way to learn than tasting!

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Day 3 – Dão and Casa de Mouraz, Suckling Pig
Day 3 and we’re off to visit the Dão region and Casa de Mouraz. Casa de Mouraz was started in 2000 using vineyards the family owned. All their vineyards are certified organic and are worked with biodynamic practices. In 2017, fires ravaged across this whole region in Portugal. 13 hectares of vineyards, the warehouse and equipment were destroyed at Casa de Mouraz. They have persevered and continue to work to replant, rebuild and continue with their passion

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Evening in Porto
Our next stop was Porto. Again, after a sumptuous lunch we looked for a lighter dinner. Ryan steered us to his favorite wine bar, Prova.

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Day 4 – Porto Food Tour, Catavino Lab
Our final day in Portugal took us on a food tour with Maria and Bruno. We spent the morning

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Until next time… (click on the photo)


3 Responses to “Road Trip:Portugal! With Ryan Opaz and Catavino Wine Tours”
  1. bread4urhead says:


    Suzanne Hoffman Under Discovered Publications LLC Under Discovered Sojourns LLC Edwards, CO

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Pinny says:

    Useful information for my March trip

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Pair Tawny Port with a Summer CampfireSometimes, just relaxing in a comfy setting is all you need for a perfect pairing. Put a bit of a chill on the bottle, go out to the fire and enjoy! If Tawny Port, or Port in general is new to you, here’s a link to a primer on Port styles and some recommended pairings. Here are a couple links to our visits to Porto and the Douro River Valley. […]

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