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The iconic cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia were remodelled during the confinement and the visiting circuit was enriched with novelties that are part of the brand’s historical archive.
Burmester’s Port wine cellars, which are among the most sought after in Vila Nova de Gaia, now offer new reasons to visit for those who want to discover the universe of this emblematic wine and follow the history of a reference brand with almost three centuries of existence.
The period in which the cellars were closed during the confinement was used by Sogevinus (a group that, in addition to Burmester, includes renowned brands such as Cálem, Kopke, Barros or Quinta da Boavista) to carry out works of remodelling the space and giving new use to some of the company’s historical heritage that was on file. This heritage is now part of the tour circuit, making it even more enriching and appealing.
Among the novelties is the creation of a mini-museum made up of old machines used in the winemaking process, including the glazing and labelling phase. Here, visitors will have the opportunity to understand the various steps of this process and discover the methods applied in the genesis of the production of Port wine. A new exhibition area, based on Burmester’s historical archives, is also now another point of additional interest on the visit, revealing diverse material such as correspondence, old labels, photographs and various documents that testify to the company’s activity over the last centuries.
“As a brand with almost 300 years of life, Burmester has a very rich archive, full of stories to tell and that help to understand how the brand evolved and conquered its space until it became the reference that it is today”, explains Maria Manuel Ramos, director of tourism at Sogevinus. “We considered that we had an opportunity here to value the company’s past and, in this sense, we wanted to present our audience with some more of these stories and curiosities, which allowed us to enrich the visit and make it even more distinctive,” she says.
Known for its authentic and traditional atmosphere, the Burmester cellars also offer visitors the chance to see the oldest ferry boat of the Sogevinus group – an object dating back to 1883 and which was offered by Henriqueta Guedes’ father to his son-in-law, Gustavo Burmester, as a wedding dowry. Other points of interest on the visit are the passage through the barrels where the Port wine is aged, some of them with the rare particularity of being made in chestnut wood, instead of the traditional oak wood (which gives a distinct style to the wines) ee where it is possible to feel a unique aroma in the air, caused by the evaporation of alcohol through the wood, in a phenomenon known as “angel’s share”.
In addition to the conventional visit, it is also possible to schedule private visits that give access to the historic wine cellar, where some of the brand’s most charismatic wines are stored, and also to the terrace, a privileged place for exclusive wine tastings. Here, visitors are surprised, not only with a breathtaking view over Porto but also with the opportunity to find a piece of the Douro region in the city, as here are planted some vines coming directly from Quinta do Arnozelo, the Quinta da Burmester located in the heart of the Douro region.
Last year, the Burmester Port wine cellars were distinguished with the “Travellers’ Choice 2020” award, an award given by TripAdvisor (considered the most important tourism platform in the world), which rewards the favourite tourist attractions of visitors. In 2019, they received a total of around 123,000 people, placing them among the most visited Port wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia.
Burmester cellar tours are available in six languages: Portuguese, English, French, Spanish, Italian and German.
Due to the current rehabilitation works of the lower deck of the Luís I bridge, Burmester created specific support signs to guide visitors in accessing the cellars.
For those coming from Porto, this access can continue to be made by foot, through the passage guaranteed in the lower deck of the aforementioned bridge. For car access, parking is suggested in the car park at the end of Rua General Torres, in Vila Nova de Gaia, 60 meters from the entrance to the Burmester cellars.