Listen up, wine enthusiasts: Located along the banks of the Douro River, Porto will become a hub for all things cultural, gastronomic and retail with the opening of WOW, Porto Wine District on July 31.
Following five years of development and $117 million of investment, WOW is a collection of six museum experiences, nine restaurants, bars and cafes, event spaces, temporary exhibition space, retail outlets and a wine school. Covering more than 429,050 square feet of restored and regenerated wine cellars, WOW is a new cultural district within the city and is one of the largest tourism projects to launch in Europe this year.
Located in the historic Vila Nova de Gaia, WOW has been designed to provide views over Porto and the Douro River. Helmed by Broadway Maylan, the build was completed without disturbing the existing landscape by utilizing pre-existing historical structures centered around a new open-air square.
WOW, it says, will offer multi-sensory experiences appealing to a variety of visitors all curated by experts in the fields of wine, history and culture. The July opening will see The Wine Experience “demystify” wine, taking visitors on a sensorial journey, exploring the regions, climates, grape varieties and production methods that make wine so diverse. Porto Region Across The Ages aims to lay bare Porto’s history, helping to put the city, its people and culture into context. At Planet Cork, visitors will discover cork and explore this underplayed sustainable and innovative industry. The Bridge Collection – 9,000 Years of Drinking tells the story of humanity through the evolution of drinking vessels from WOW CEO Adrian Bridge’s personal collection. While The Chocolate Story takes the visitor on a journey through the world of cacao and chocolate, drawing parallels between the harvesting and processing of grapes and cacao.
Later in 2020, WOW will open the sixth experience in the form of the Fashion & Fabric Museum, which shines a light on Portugal’s textiles, fashion and jewelry industry and the WOW Wine School, which will offer a variety of daily and multi-day workshops on Portuguese wine and gastronomy in partnership with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.
The central square will also provide access to a variety of F&B options. Angel’s Share wine bar, 1828 fine dining restaurant, Root & Vine vegetarian fare and Golden Catch fish restaurants all have views of the city. Additional casual fare options include Suspiro dessert café, Lemon Plaza for grab-and-go options and a bistrot offering traditional Portuguese cuisine.