Several years ago, I would frequently visit a delightful independent wine shop, sandwiched between a bakery and a cheese store, during my evening commute from university. Unable to differentiate between a Chardonnay and a Champagne, it made for a fabulous break from my law studies, as well as a kickstart to my wine education!
Despite not having tons of money to spend on wine, I revelled in the time I spent with the owner, releasing an onslaught of questions that swirled in my head. They ranged from the basic (Where is the Rhone?) to the practical (Serving temperature for Beaujolais?) to the personal (Favorite wine-pizza pairing?). I took note of what was on the bottom shelf and what lined the top, what the labels looked like and how the bottle shapes varied by region.
I have since spent a good amount of time lurking in wine shops. The sign of a misspent adulthood! Moving to Lisbon a few years ago gave me plenty of new opportunities to discover some truly special wine retailers – stores with unique, well thought-out selections of wine serviced by people who ooze passion for the outstanding products Portugal has to offer. The Portuguese capital is home to some genuine wine stores with character, and they’re absolutely worth a visit. We hope you check them out on your next trip to Lisbon!
Rua de Santos-o-Velho, 74 (10 am – 9 pm Monday – Saturday, 2:30 pm – 7 pm Sunday)
Go for: A Local Experience For Wine Lovers
Head to residential Lapa for a visit to this independent wine shop featuring true Portuguese gems. Garrafeira de Santos’ selection is excellent. Each wine, from entry-level to the premium, is guaranteed to be worth tasting. Owner Francisco confided that he only carries wines that he himself savors – not a bad stamp of approval if you’re looking for a good bet! Francisco’s passion is contagious, leading to long conversations over which wine is ideal for you and why. If you are a repeat customer, there’s a good chance he’ll not only remember your name, but the wine your purchased. What more do you want?!
Nearby: You’re just a few blocks away from the delicious Mediterranean food at Restauarante Clube dos Jornalistas . Call in advance for a table in the outdoor courtyard.
Rua Nova da Piedade, 23 (9:30 am – 8 pm)
Go for: Fun and Quirky Hangout
Visiting Carinho do Vinho is like walking into your Great Aunt’s living room. It’s warm, cozy and doubles as a wine bar and casual restaurant. Clients are welcome to uncork bottles purchased on site and enjoy with light tapas, and on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, Carinho do Vinho serves a great value buffet dinner that I highly recommend. At Carinho do Vinho, you’ll find attractively-priced wines that are off the beaten path. Here, smaller producers have priority. It doesn’t get more sustainable than this!
Nearby: People-watch in the leafy shade of Praça das Flores for an interesting mix of tourists and locals.
Rua da Escola Politecnica, 15 ( Mon – Fri 10 am – 8 pm, Closed Sunday)
Go for: An Old School Lisbon Wine Shop
This Principe Real establishment has ‘International’ in its name, but with one or two exceptions, the wines it carries are exclusively Portuguese. Garrafeira Internacional was founded in 1937, so this shop’s seen decades of vintages! In its early days, Garrafeira Internacional featured wines from all over Europe. It has since adopted a Portuguese focus, so head here for an interesting selection of wines from across the country. Buying in bulk? No problem. Garrafeira Internacional will deliver wines to your doorstep, assuming local laws allow it to do so!
Nearby: Picnic in the beautiful, leafy Principe Real gardens. Maybe even uncork a bottle you’ve picked up at Garrafeira Internacional!
See website for their various hours and locations
Go for: Iconic Wine Shop Trio
Garrafeira Nacional is perhaps Lisbon’s most iconic wine retailer. Three stores grace the city of Lisbon, so take your pick or visit them all. The primarily Portuguese selection is extensive, and Garrafeira Nacional’s friendly staff is well versed in their portfolio. They also have an impressive Port and Madeira selection, with several wines dating back to the 1800s! If you have difficulty with Portuguese, not to fret. Garrafeira Nacional is accustomed to clients from all over the world, and you’ll likely find its employees can help you in English. Ask about the regularly scheduled Thursday evening tastings at the Rua da Conceição location.
Nearby: Grab a bite at foodie market ‘Mercado da Ribeira’ if visiting the 24 de Julho store. You’ll be energized by the buzzing scene of tourists and locals! If at the Santa Justa or Rua da Conceição shops, visit the Elevador de Santa Justa (also known as Elevador do Carmo), a beautifully designed elevator with views over the Baixa that was built back in 1900!
Rua Dom Pedro V, 111 (Mon – Sat 10 am – 8 pm)
Go for: Cosmopolitan Drinkables and Edibles
This new Principe Real wine shop is where you go when you’re ready to switch it up: you’ve been drinking Portuguese and are craving something like a Chianti Classico, a German Riesling, an organic wine from the Jurançon or Champagne made by a small producer. Moy also has a solid selection of Portuguese wines to choose from. In addition to wine, Moy’s shelves feature gourmet foodstuffs like loose leaf tea, unground coffee beans, fresh cheeses and charcuterie. Here, you’ll find edibles from around the world, like upscale chutneys from England and hand-made pastas from Italy.
Nearby: Pay a visit to the hip shopping destination Embaixada LX, right across the street from Moy. Inside the gorgeous refurbished building you’ll find a bazaar-like array of artsy clothing, art and home décor stores featuring only things ultra cool.
Rua Tomás de Anunciação 44 (9am – 8pm, closed Sundays)
Go for: Cozy and Intimate Atmosphere
In the mid 1970’s, Arlindo Santos opened a wee shop, selling wildly diverse Portuguese wines, in the heart of Campo de Ourique – a quiet neighborhood dotted with late-19th-century buildings, Art Nouveau, and less appealing architecture from the 20th century. A decade later, he expanded to offer bulk wine and key regional products in a neighborhood grocery store just across the street. But with avalanche of wine bars populating Lisbon in the early 2000’s, Arlindo revamped his shop into a boutique wine shop and delicatessan called Aromas & Sabores. Quaint, cozy and high quality, this little gem is absolutely worth visiting if you’re keen for a small bite and a glass of wine. Not only that, but you have the entire wine shop across the street to peruse from!
Nearby: For the poets among you, swing by Casa Fernando Pessoa – a cultural museum where the world-renown poet spent the last years of his life.
I hope you enjoy these tips for some wine shop wandering in Lisbon. A quick visit to a few of these stores is a great place to learn about Portuguese wine, and you’re guaranteed to walk out with some special bottles in hand. If you need some wine hunting support, or a quick 101 on Portuguese wine, let us know! We’re more then happy to set up a winery tour, wine tasting or or food and wine experience just for you!
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