WOW Porto - Porto's new 'World of Wine' wine district

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Jan Janas
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WOW Porto - Porto's new 'World of Wine' wine district

#1 Post by Jan Janas »

Has anyone heard of this yet? Apparently Porto just opened a massive wine district with wine and food 'experiences'. Not really sure what they entail, as a quick scroll through the website didn't make things clearer in the slightest. Looks like a lot of money went into this, and it seems more like an EXPO with a wine & food focus than anything else.

Maybe our Tomas Costa knows something?

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Re: WOW Porto - Porto's new 'World of Wine' wine district

#2 Post by Tomás Costa »

Hi Jan. This is a 105 million € project by Fladgate (owners of Taylor's), who also own the Yeatman hotel that overlooks the Douro River, the Porto skyline from Vila Nova de Gaia and the very terrains where this big wine plaza now stands. WOW is a mixture of differently themed restaurants and museums about the wine world. Once I get back from Algarve on the 7th I'll be wanting to go there and look around, since it's only a 20 minute train ride from my home.

According to the national press, there will be many different restaurants - some themed according to what they serve (vegetarian, fish), others with different inspirations (one of them is named 1828, after that decisive year of the Portuguese Civil War, in which Porto was a decisive player on the Liberal side), but all benefitting from very extensive wine lists. The really interesting part to me are the museums - dedicated to the history of wine, the history of glassware, the history of chocolate, the history of the Porto region and the history of cork, to name the ones I've read about - and an actual wine academy, which will be offering courses. Whether these are formal or not I wouldn't know. Either way, it looks like a really exciting project and was an obvious investment for Fladgate under the scenario of skyrocketing tourism in Porto, before the big 'rona put our lifes on hold.
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Re: WOW Porto - Porto's new 'World of Wine' wine district

#3 Post by dbailey »

Porto was already my favourite destination city. Can’t wait to go back and explore this new area.
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Re: WOW Porto - Porto's new 'World of Wine' wine district

#4 Post by Markus S »

Probably not the best time in the world to be opening this just as Portugal put back on the EU travel ban list and zip American traffic. :(
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Re: WOW Porto - Porto's new 'World of Wine' wine district

#5 Post by Tomás Costa »

Markus S wrote: August 1st, 2020, 6:37 am Probably not the best time in the world to be opening this just as Portugal put back on the EU travel ban list and zip American traffic. :(
Ridiculous. Portugal has been the victim of its own very extensive and exhaustive testing policy - 1.6 million tests so far, out of a population of less than 11 million. Geographical position allowed us to prepare in time and the pandemic did not hit us nearly as hard as the Spanish or Italians in terms of deaths or ICU strain. Among our daily cases, around 75% are concentrated in the 19 parishes of Greater Lisbon where poor socio-economic factors render social distancing an impossibility. This is an extremely safe country to travel to - I stick to all health and safety precautions but travel everywhere with no second thought, and I have two high risk factor people in my family.
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Re: WOW Porto - Porto's new 'World of Wine' wine district

#6 Post by Markus S »

Tomás Costa wrote: August 1st, 2020, 7:14 am
Markus S wrote: August 1st, 2020, 6:37 am Probably not the best time in the world to be opening this just as Portugal put back on the EU travel ban list and zip American traffic. :(
Ridiculous. Portugal has been the victim of its own very extensive and exhaustive testing policy - 1.6 million tests so far, out of a population of less than 11 million. Geographical position allowed us to prepare in time and the pandemic did not hit us nearly as hard as the Spanish or Italians in terms of deaths or ICU strain. Among our daily cases, around 75% are concentrated in the 19 parishes of Greater Lisbon where poor socio-economic factors render social distancing an impossibility. This is an extremely safe country to travel to - I stick to all health and safety precautions but travel everywhere with no second thought, and I have two high risk factor people in my family.
Well I was surprised when I heard this on the radio today because I know Portugal has done a good job.
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Re: WOW Porto - Porto's new 'World of Wine' wine district

#7 Post by theocorrel »

Tomas - Thanks for the detailed information on the situation in Portugal; it is much appreciated. When you do go to this new development in Porto, please report back! (And post pictures if possible!)

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Re: WOW Porto - Porto's new 'World of Wine' wine district

#8 Post by Eric Ifune »

Been waiting for this for the past couple of years. It's the brainchild of Adrian Bridge, CEO of Taylor, Fladgate, Yeatman. Supposedly about wine in general and not just Port or Taylors.

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Re: WOW Porto - Porto's new 'World of Wine' wine district

#9 Post by Tomás Costa »

Eric Ifune wrote: August 1st, 2020, 3:42 pm Been waiting for this for the past couple of years. It's the brainchild of Adrian Bridge, CEO of Taylor, Fladgate, Yeatman. Supposedly about wine in general and not just Port or Taylors.
I am positive it will be a much greater invention than his latest one, rosé port.
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Re: WOW Porto - Porto's new 'World of Wine' wine district

#10 Post by Jan Janas »

Thanks Tomas - it is good to hear that a good investor is backing this up, as it looked like an expensive project but as is often the state lots of money don't equate good results. Exciting to see what you report back.

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Re: WOW Porto - Porto's new 'World of Wine' wine district

#11 Post by AaronB »

I was in Porto in Feb just before this all kicked off, fantastic city and sad I missed this.

Despite massive tourism there's still so many derelict buildings in Porto and in-between the lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia, really surprised me.
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Re: WOW Porto - Porto's new 'World of Wine' wine district

#12 Post by Kevin Patrick »

Great information. Thanks for sharing.

I'm an optimist and think we will be past the COVID scares far sooner than others believe and enjoy thinking about return trips to regions like this. Can't wait to see this exciting venture.

Cheers!

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Re: WOW Porto - Porto's new 'World of Wine' wine district

#13 Post by Tomás Costa »

Kevin Patrick wrote: August 2nd, 2020, 10:17 am Great information. Thanks for sharing.

I'm an optimist and think we will be past the COVID scares far sooner than others believe and enjoy thinking about return trips to regions like this. Can't wait to see this exciting venture.

Cheers!
I would be thrilled to meet up with any Berserkers!
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Re: WOW Porto - Porto's new 'World of Wine' wine district

#14 Post by Eric Ifune »

I am positive it will be a much greater invention than his latest one, rosé port.
pileon
I understand it's been quite successful commercially. Other companies have followed suit. [wow.gif]

He took a big gamble with the Yeatman, and that has paid off. They've since bought the Vintage House in Pinhao and the Infante Sagres hotel in Porto. He's very good at what he does.

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Re: WOW Porto - Porto's new 'World of Wine' wine district

#15 Post by Tomás Costa »

I spent the day at WoW today - from around 11 am to 6 pm - and I thought it might warrant a bump to this thread.

Dad and I were welcomed by Richard Bowden, WoW's marketing director, who gave us a small guided tour and revealed a few surprising numbers to us - 55 000 (the square meters that comprise WoW), 1000 (the number of people who worked at the site during the final phase of construction), 15 (the number of minutes that elapsed between the end of formal work on construction and WoW's opening - all in order to fulfill Adrian Bridge's pigheaded wish to stick to the opening date of July 31st, pandemic be damned). The multi-million euro investment is even more apparent than I thought: having expected a more linear organization of the overall space, I found instead a dizzyingly varied, opulently scaled, self-contained 'village', which I only hesitate to compare to a theme park since the term might be a disservice to the scope and ambition of what's going on there (the one exception being a café constructed in the imitation of a Portuguese plaza and equipped with a gigantic LED screen. I predict it will be fully booked for the Champions League final).

Not everything is quite open yet at WoW: their fine dining restaurant, 1828, will open only next week - although we got to visit the kitschy dining room - and the wine academy won't get started before Fall, with what I understand will be a mixture of formal WSET with non-formal, though still intensive and far reaching, education on Portuguese wine. There are also some modules, such as the 'make your own chocolate bar' at the chocolate museum, which aren't active yet. Angel's Share, which is the biggest wine bar I've ever been to, was about to open at noon. All of these spaces have a privileged view over Porto and the D. Luiz Bridge.

After Richard left to continue his work, we visited the museum dedicated to the history of Porto, with a look at the region's History from the Bronze and Iron Ages to the current day. I especially appreciated the documentary styled visual content dedicated to the Napoleonic Invasions and to the Siege of Porto during the Portuguese Civil War, both of them narrated in English and with a 2006 History Channel sense of drama and pace.

Lunch was at VP, which at WoW's diverse roster of restaurants is where you get unfussy, straightforward Portuguese food at fair prices - the most expensive main course being 16€. I have had far more interesting versions of duck rice, a national staple, than I did today, but it did pair well with Quinta do Perdigão 2013 Jaen, a budget Dão which hasn't yet nudged out of its youth and shows plenty of future potential, illustrating how excessively conservative the recommended drinking windows of national critics are.

We then went to the Wine Experience museum, which is dedicated to wine making in all of its different stages - viticulture, vinification, varietals, etc. The museum is an interactive take on the concept of a wine crash course, and even includes a series of electronically activated aroma samples, and an actual wine tasting at the end of the route, as well as video content on the Portuguese wine regions. There is virtually nothing in the entire exhibit for the experienced wine lover to learn from (unless you're unfamiliar with Portuguese varietals or the process of making Port), but I feel it's a terrific visit for those who are curious about wine but have little knowledge and experience. Next week we should be visiting the chocolate museum and Adrian Bridget's private glassware collection, with over 1000 items going back to 7000 B.C.. Cool stuff!
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Re: WOW Porto - Porto's new 'World of Wine' wine district

#16 Post by dbailey »

Looks amazing. Can’t wait to visit whenever we’re post covid. Is there anything for kids - the chocolate bar for example?
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Re: WOW Porto - Porto's new 'World of Wine' wine district

#17 Post by Tomás Costa »

dbailey wrote: August 18th, 2020, 2:43 pm Looks amazing. Can’t wait to visit whenever we’re post covid. Is there anything for kids - the chocolate bar for example?
Richard specifically mentioned the chocolate museum as being very kid friendly, but I felt the entire venue was family oriented, not least because of how generously spaced and luminous everything is. There was even a young teenage girl at the wine tasting at the end of the wine experience museum - she didn't drink, but she took a sniff and was actually right on the money (it was a Douro with a raisin-y scent and she described that). Before that, in a different hallway, you get a sample of different soft candies which you are told to chew on while pinching your nose, and then letting go of it, in order to educate laypeople on the importance of aroma in identifying and describing flavor profiles. Little details like these make the experiences interesting for both kids and adults, in my opinion.
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#18 Post by Eric Ifune »

Can't wait to visit either. Adrian had to include the Napoleonic wars as he's a graduate of Sandhurst.

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#19 Post by Tomás Costa »

Eric Ifune wrote: August 19th, 2020, 3:29 pm Can't wait to visit either. Adrian had to include the Napoleonic wars as he's a graduate of Sandhurst.
Regardless of Adrian's personal interests or inclinations, Wellesley's supersonic conquest of Porto from Soult's hands and the tragedy of the Ponte das Barcas are one of the most important moments in the city's history, and an obvious choice for extended treatment in a museum dedicated to the city.
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#20 Post by Eric Ifune »

Yes, I always stop at the plaque on the Ribeira in commemoration.

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Re: WOW Porto - Porto's new 'World of Wine' wine district

#21 Post by Paul Seah »

WoW indeed.

I was staying at the Yeatman almost exactly a year ago, and we overlooked what was still very much a giant construction site. Amazing that this all came up within a year.
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#22 Post by Tomás Costa »

Paul Seah wrote: August 20th, 2020, 6:11 pm WoW indeed.

I was staying at the Yeatman almost exactly a year ago, and we overlooked what was still very much a giant construction site. Amazing that this all came up within a year.
Richard Bowden told me that the day before the inauguration, the whole of the outdoor space was still full of debris and garbage up to several feet high. Sticking to schedule was a massive endeavour, and they were courageous to persist given how radically different the scenario for this year ended up being (tourism in Porto had been booming for several years).
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