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A Wine-ding Tour of Portugal

European Wine Bloggers Conference

I’ve much bemoaned the lack of travelling I’ve been doing of late. Get out your tiny violin and let me tell you that I’ve not been to anywhere but Ireland for more than 5 days in over 2 years. Now, what is that about?! I’ve been working hard but playing less, in the last few months particularly, so I figured it was time to do something about this somewhat depressing state of affairs, and headed to Lisbon for the weekend.

Why Lisbon? The European Wine Bloggers Wine Conference was there this year, and having met, and tasted much wine with Gabriella & Ryan Opaz and their co-organiser Rob MacIntosh this year, I had to go. They’re great people and extremely innovative, whatever they were organising, it was sure to be good. There’s also been much talk of organising a food one over a few days next year, since last March in fact so it made sense to see how it was done before getting that moving after the Blaggers’ Banquet. The bonus was that I had never been to Portugal and was keen to explore.

European Wine Bloggers Conference

How was it? Well, great. The Portugese people, in the wine world and without are open, friendly and beyond hospitable. I had a somewhat twisted expectation that I may be seen as a fraud deeply entrenched in the world of wine, but really, that says more about me than them, as my experience was quite the opposite.

European Wine Bloggers Conference

Highlights were Friday nights tasting and dinner with the Douro Boys, a meander through the Portugese wine stands on Saturday trying gorgeous ports, tawnys and many wines featuring the national grape touriga nacional, a wonderful canape and wine session at michelin starred restaurant Eleven, followed by a mildly misjudged dancing session in Lisbon, a superb trip to the Tejo region and winery Quinta Lagoalva, featuring a tour of their cork farm and a sample of theirs and the regions wines, followed by lunch with the winemakers. Such a treat.

European Wine Bloggers Conference

European Wine Bloggers Conference

More still, a wonderful dinner, lots of delicious wines, and more dancing at Alfandega in Lisbon. Where things got really special, however was, bus journey aside, for I am a terrible bus passenger, especially after much dancing, wine swilling and little sleep, a trip to the Douro and to (for me) two wineries. This was a wonderful exposure to the wine and food culture in Portugal and the really lovely people. There was no pretension, just warm, friendly people and lovely food and wine. Thanks so much to Francisco Olazabal of Quinta do Vale Meão, Cristiano Van Zeller of Quinta do Vale D. Maria, Jorge, Tomas and Miguel Roquette of Quinta do Crasto for a wonderful experience.

European Wine Bloggers Conference

Throughout all of this I had exposure to a whole new community of bloggers, the wine bloggers, who are enormous fun and very knowledgable. I look forward to seeing them next year, and before then in some cases.

That’s the overview! I’ll write more about it soon. Thanks to Gabriella, Ryan, Rob and Andre and the boys from Adegga for a superb weekend. They did a wonderful job.

<a href=”” title=”European Wine Bloggers Conference by Niamheen, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”333″ alt=”European Wine Bloggers Conference” /></a>




  1. You’re very welcome! Mind you, the pleasure goes both ways. Part of the romance of the EWBC, as I see it, is that we strive to have people from all walks of life to share their perspectives and experiences. Regardless if you felt like a wine buff, you most definitely added to the conversation with your vast knowledge of flavors, your keen interest in pairing food and wine, and your ongoing passion for blogging. In short, you confirmed our desire to have more people just like yourself at every EWBC in the future.

  2. looks like you had a beautiful trip. i guess one ends up spending most of our hols in the place our fam lives- hope you get to travel more to new places.

  3. Pingback: A Wine-ding Tour of Portugal « eat like a girl | Breaking News 24/7

  4. As both wine bloggers and Portuguese winemakers, we were really excited that the EWBC took place in Portugal this year. Not only was it a blast to hang out with all those IT savy and stimulating winelovers for the whole weekend, but it was a great showcase opportunity for Portugal and Portuguese wines.

    Thanks once again to the organizers, Catavino, Robert Mcintosh, and Adegga, and last but not least, Viniportugal for recognizing that fact and helping to sponsor it from the very beginning!

  5. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite says

    I still haven’t been to Lisbon but have very fond memories of the region around Oporto….. This looks like you had a wonderful weekend. Funnily enough, Portugal was the host country of the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo in Toronto that was held here a few weeks ago that I wrote about…

  6. small home plans says

    It looks like Portugal is a nice place to visit! The place looks lovely! Thanks for sharing this to us!

  7. Portugal is where I planned on spending Xmas but we’ll see…Wine bloggers conference? Wow. This last weekend, I spent at the Food Blogger’s Connect in London – super fab. Nice to meet and touch and laugh with other foodies, in the flesh!

  8. Your blog is super. So are your photographies. They make me hungry. I have spent a nice moment when seeing them. Thanks a lot.

  9. I am so sorry I did not go to this, but house buying and renovating just crippled my financially this year… Definitely up for it next year!

  10. Pingback: Farewell to 2009! Another Year Over [Part 5] « eat like a girl

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