Felicity Long
Felicity Long

Relatively inexpensive prices may have been the initial driving force behind an increase in sales of Portuguese wines a few years ago, but recent nods from Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator magazines are now making even oenophiles sit up and take notice.

According to ViniPortugal, sales of Portuguese table wines grew by 40%, and red wine sales jumped by a whopping 125% in the last three years.

What does this mean for travel?

Some of the destination's oldest wine-producing estates are opening their doors to visitors for day trips, wine-pairing dinners, overnight stays and, for the true enthusiast, participation in the harvest.

There are 20 or so wine regions in Portugal, including the scenic Douro River area, which produces red, white and port vintages and offers accommodations in a range of price points, according to the Portuguese National Tourist Office.

Splurge on a stay at the Casa da Calcada, a Relais & Chateaux boutique property between the valley and Oporto, or opt for a vineyard farmhouse near Quinta da Pacheca, a vineyard that dates from 1500.

For more on traveling the wine routes of Portugal, visit www.insideportugaltravel.com.

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