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In a country that contains two wine-making regions that are protected as UNESCO World Heritage sites, husband and wife wine enthusiasts Filipa Garcia Fernandes and Moisés Cardoso Campos became eager to expand the vinification horizons of the Portuguese city of Porto beyond the range of fortified port wines for which the city is best known. In June 2012, the couple opened up a historic building that has belonged to Filipa’s family for over a century, transforming it into the ‘home away from home’ Wine Quay Bar where wine enthusiasts like themselves could come to experience the truly diverse range of wine Portugal has on offer. Here, The Culture Trip has a chat with Filipa to find out about their journey over the last few years, and what it is that makes their wine bar so unique.
Describe the history of Wine Quay Bar. Did you always expect that you would run a wine bar?
Wine Quay Bar started with a passion; a passion that myself and my husband Moisés have in common. A passion for wines!
Everybody knew about the fortified wines on offer at the Port Wine Cellars, but very few people realized how many other excellent wines Portugal has to offer. So we decided to open a wine bar right in front of the Port Wine Cellars! The building has belonged to my family for more than 100 years, and was used by my great-grandfather to house his company of exporting and importing raw materials.
Our own journey began in June 2012, as we transformed the building into a place to enjoy and share the taste of Portugal with the world. And we cheers to many more years!
Can you tell us about the wine traditions and culture in Portugal?
Portugal has an enviable wine culture, with a diversity of climates, soils, grapes and vinification methods which gives us wines of exceptional quality, and which are well-suited to our gastronomy. It is a country with one of the widest indigenous varieties of wine, and the respect for their features is notable. Last year, Portugal was recognized by Wine Spectator as one of the best countries in wine-making.
How do you advise your visitors on their wine choices?
This is our home, and we like to make our guests feel at home here, too. Wine Quay Bar always strives to build up good relationships with our guests, allowing us to discover their tastes and invite them to travel through Portugal by the glass. We also complement the wine with traditional Portuguese tapas, such as smoked ham, a selection of cheeses, and canned fish.
What can we expect from Wine Quay Bar in the future?
Wine Quay Bar is always growing. We grow along with our guests and friends. This year we opened a new store, right next to Wine Quay Bar, called Quay Market, where guests can go to purchase the wines and products they tasted in the Wine Bar. That way, they can continue the experience they had with us back in the comfort of their own home. It’s always nice to be remembered this way, and we cheers to that. Also, we have a few new surprises in stock for this year!
Do you consider a country’s wine when you select your travel destinations? If you could take a wine tour across one country in the world, where would you go?
Yes we do! This month we will be visiting Bordeaux. However, there is still a long list of countries we haven’t had the chance to travel to yet, that we would love to visit, such as Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina and California. We are young – we love to dream!
What is the best kept secret of Porto?
The best kept secret is not actually much of a secret – if you visit our city, you will know it. It’s the people! We are friendly, we share knowledge, and we are always learning. And if that isn’t enough… there’s a beach very nearby!
Where would you advise culture lovers to go in Porto?
Its mandatory to go and see the old part of the city; the Ribeira area, Torre dos Clerigos, Palacio da Bolsa, Livraria Lello, Santa Clara Church, the art district at Miguel Bombarda Street… there is so much on offer here! While you’re there, you can also have a nice walk along the beach.
Interview by Isabelle Pitman