Founded in 2004, Vinho & Coisas is a small and intimate wine shop situated along the Portuguese coast in Matosinhos, nestled just north of Porto near Parque de Cidade. Managed by Ivone Ribeiro, an individual whose passion is visceral and expressive the minute she walks in the door, with toddler in hand, Vinho & Coisas speaks of a delicate mix of both professionalism and education.
“Our goal is to get people excited about wine. For example, we have free tastings where everyone brings a bottle priced between 5 to 10 euros. And regardless as to where bought the bottle, after we all taste one another’s contribution, everyone can take home a bottle from our shop valued at the same price as the bottle they brought. In the end, we not only get to try something interesting and new from our customers, but our customers equally challenge themselves to take home something intriguing as well.”
An innovative and exciting idea highlighted in the diversity of wines available on her 2,500 bottle shelf. Ranging throughout Portugal and into France, Italy, Germany, New Zealand, and even Spain (note my giddy excitement here), to name a few, the selection is notable. “We want to customers to trust us, and break out of their norm. And if they don’t like the bottle, they are welcome to return it to us in exchange for something different.”
Although not a surprise coming from the Rioja laden land of Spain, most of Ivone’s customers are primarily focused on the currently popular Douro and Aletejano wines. However, what did send me a for a loop was the fact that not only did her customers tend to use sherry wine for cooking (I think I covered my ears at that point and curled myself into a ball in anguish), but that they tended to have a rather curious sweet tooth. “We sell many more sweet wines from the Douro and Setubul, than we do of Port or Madeira wines. There just isn’t a market for it right now.” Knowing very little about Madeira, as we have yet to make a trip to the famous island, I’m sympathetic to their preferences, but port wine?! In the town of Porto, how could it be that local wine lovers aren’t interested in their very own regional drink?! The blasphemy I say!
Fairly priced, well organized, and propped next to an incredible restaurant called Degusto, where you can bring in any bottle from the wine shop to pair with your meal, it is a worthwhile visit. And if you’re interested in a Portuguese wine tasting in either the wine shop or the adjoining restaurant, Ivone is happy to organize tasting for you.
As for an English speaking staff, according to Ivone, everyone has a relatively good grasp of the language, which is a definite plus as this is far the from the norm in Iberia.
Check out our interview with Ivone below, and if you’re passing through Porto, or have a question for Ivone, please don’t hesitate to drop her a line.
Vinho & Coisas
Rua de Sousa Aroso, 540-544
Tel: 22 9364362
Fax: 22 9364361
e-mail: [email protected]
Map of Location on Catavino Portugal Map