rule number four: let the tourists drink alcoholic beverages made of grapes, and then have a beer. apparently, the portuguese don't drink that much port; it's mostly leftover from when the british had a lot of influence, hence the names of many of the cellars: taylor, croft, sandeman.
don't get me wrong, i drank quite a few beers. but, in porto, there was quite a bit of port.
port wine comes in many varieties: tawny, ruby, colheita, vintage, late bottle vintage (LBV), even white. the whites were incredible, potentially the best of the bunch, though i loved the LBVs as well. apparently, portugal does not export many of its wines; they are an exclusive treat to be had only within the country. and while port is usually an after-dinner drink, the white ports are typically apéritifs.
the vineyards are not in porto, and the the cellars (caves) are across the river in the vila nova de gaia. the vineyards are far up the river.
the caves mostly looked the same, but varied in size and type of ports. the barrels are enormous.
the instituto do vinho do porto regulates the wine and promotes the industry.
while i thought sandeman had the worst ports of those i tasted, this is pretty good image of the extensiveness of the area.
vintage wines are named for the year they were made; usually, there are only a few per decade. they must be stored sideways, as they are unfiltered. they also must be decanted.
i wish i had found this wine shop/bar, vinologica, sooner. it had a really impressive menu of bottles to try.