The wine boats of the Douro river

douro portugal

The wine boats of the Douro river

This is a great film. It’s titled ‘The wine boats of the Douro river’, and it represents a very different Douro than that of today, shot in 1923. This was before the Douro was dammed in the late 1960s/early 1970s with five different dams, which converted it from a sometimes rather wild river into the placid beast that it is today, as well as raising the river level a bit, taking out a few of the lower vineyards.

In the past, the wine used to be made in the Douro and then shipped down river in cask to Vila Nova de Gaia, to be aged and blended in the large warehouses of the various shippers. The Rabelo boats shown in this film can now be seen as floating adverts for Port houses in Gaia, and some are adapted for tourist rides.

There’s also another, slightly quirky old film from 1962 showing a Rabelo on the Thames!


2 Comments on The wine boats of the Douro riverTagged , ,
wine journalist and flavour obsessive

2 thoughts on “The wine boats of the Douro river

  1. Great film Jamie,,

    And we race these boats every year on 24 June from the mouth of the Douro to the Dom Luis Bridge in Porto. It’s chaotic and fun and well worth watching,

    Best, Paul

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