Travel Guide to Portugal

Foot Trodden – Portugal & the wines that time forgot

By Ryan Opaz

I was a wide-eyed 27 years old with a half-decade of wine retail under my belt when I first stepped onto Portuguese soil. Due to close family ties, I was deeply curious about Portuguese wine but knew relatively little beyond the odd bottle of Port sipped over the holidays or during work tastings. This all changed after our three-week stint of trekking across the Alentejo, Douro, Lisbon, and Minho. Producers generously opened their doors to expand both my palate and my passion for Portuguese wine.

A few years later, my wife and I packed our bags and settled permanently on the Peninsula. I met winemakers, visited regions, and truly fell in love with the wine, food, and most importantly, the people. I was hooked! But over time, loneliness crept in. My love of storytelling through Catavino never waned but the ability to connect with my American audience suffered as few could ever source the wines I raved about. Today, there are considerably more options for Americans to savor, yet diversity remains limited.

I felt that a book on Portuguese wine could alter the tides, but never quite knew how to approach it. Our book “Porto” covering Northern Portuguese cuisine and culture hinted at the quality and depth of its wines, but was limited in the context of the book. It simply wasn’t the time nor the place for it.

Today, I can proudly say that my dream has finally come to fruition as a result of an unexpected friendship. 

In 2011, I met Simon Woolf at the European Wine Bloggers Conference. This was my fourth year running the EWBC that brought together incredible professionals throughout the wine industry, but the first of which that was attended by Simon Woolf. With his natural affinity for photography and wine, and his growing passion for writing, our friendship eventually led to my collaboration on his book, Amber Revolution.

Fortunately for both of us, the book was an incredible success and laid the foundation for a second, slightly more daring, project, “Foot-Trodden” which will be launched on Kickstarter tomorrow, February 18th at 7pm CET. 

This book will share compelling and personal stories of Portugal’s most innovative and iconic winemakers. Passionate, colorful and driven, their stories will help give context to defining moments in Portugal’s history such as the breakup of the totalitarian Salazar regime and the moment Portugal joined the EU, and how both affected the course of wines made here. This book is more than a historical reference on Portuguese wine, it’s an opportunity to share untold stories that will hopefully stir both your heart and your tastebuds.

And don’t think this is a book just for wine geeks. No, this is a book for lovers of Portugal. Anyone who has been here knows that wine flows through the veins of the populace and you can’t tell the story of Portugal without a glass of wine by your side.

Admittedly, I have no grand delusions that we will change the fate of Portuguese wine with only this book – this will take time – but we do hope that we can inspire you to explore Portugal and its wines a bit further.

Today, I want to ask you to please join us tomorrow, February 18th at 7pm CET to learn more about this exciting project: Make sure to click the “Notify me on launch” button so as not to miss it!

Most importantly: There will be special early bird rewards for those that act fast, as well as an opportunity for anyone who backs our campaign in the first couple of hours to jump on a zoom call with Simon and me. This exclusive launch party will also welcome several winemakers from the book to share their visions of Portugal and its wines.

Thank you to everyone who has helped Catavino get this far, and I hope this book is one more reason to come join us in Portugal!


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Since 2005, Catavino has been exploring the Iberian Peninsula
looking for the very best food and wine experiences.

Since 2005, Catavino has been exploring the Iberian Peninsula looking for the very best food and wine experiences.

Catavino is the best place to learn about travel, food
and wine in Portugal and Spain.

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