Tuesday 9 March 2021 1:43 pm

Need to get away? Why not become a winemaker in Portugal?

We are all asking the same question. “What will be the first thing we’ll do when lockdown ends?” But few of us will answer: “Buy myself a vineyard in Portugal, make myself 288 bottles of wine, and learn how to be a professional goalkeeper.”

But one winery in south Portugal is offering a “Winemaker’s Experience” at which you can do just that. Quinta do Vales near Lagoa has made available twenty plots for you to cultivate, with prices ranging from €30,000 to €60,000, depending on the grape variety and the location of the plot. The additional running costs include everything from the work in the vineyard and the winery, to all the materials used. Quinta dos Vales will then hand the finished product over once it’s been properly aged, bottled, labelled and boxed. The only extra cost is shipping.

In the Algarve, new viniculture methodologies have given rise to better wines and a growing appreciation of the region’s grapes, which include Nacional, Aragonês, Trincadeira, Alvarinho and Alicante bouschet.  

The return of wine tourism will introduce visitors to the vineyards of Portuimao, Lagoa and Tavira, where Casa Santos Lima winery produces the award-winning Al-Ria.

It is one of the many excellent Algarve wine-makers worth seeking out once tourism routes reopen, with others including Quinta do Francês Winery, Cabrita Wines in Silves (try their creamy Muscatel),  Paxa Wines, João Clara Vinhos, Morgado do Quintao, Quinta da Tor, Quinta da Penina and Herdade Barnnacaol do Vale in Campilhos. 

Quinta dos Vales wine estate also offers a Barrel Blending Experience enabling you to produce your own bespoke barrel of wine using their existing unblended wines. Or you might prefer to ease your way slowly into bigtime wine investment by attending a 3-hour Bottle Blending Workshop. 

At Quinta do Barranco Longo in Algoz,  you can also learn about  Portuguese wines’ passion fruit mouth, vinho verde and Negra Mole, as well as Everton’s chances of finishing in the top four. The owner’s son, Joao Virginia, is a goalkeeper for Everton and his other son, Pedro, was on Arsenal’s books and is now playing for FC Porto – he’s a goalkeeper too.