I do qutie a bit of travelling in the name of promoting my various wine projects and while it seems like a life of fancy labels, great food and endless social occaisions, I can tell you the job is harder than it looks. Ahem...

Every now and then a holiday is in order. Besides, it can be useful to wander vineyards and cellars as a consumer and to abosorb the atmosphere without scribbling notes and mentally planning articles.

I joined the very French Paul Deneulenaere and Laura Eliot for a few days in the Douro where we indulged in large qauntities of Port, Portuguese food and some local beers to battle scorching June temperatures. Here are a few memmories.

Two Pauls in Cantina 32

Lunch was a key feature. The first was in Cantina 32, a cool and contemporary wine bar at 32 Rua das Flores, not far from the river. Simple but delicious food washed down with some fresh Vinho Verde and a bottle of x, A quick walking tour of the city lead us over the bridge and into Villa Nova de Gaia where we seemed unable to resist a 2007 white colheita from Dalvan.

We toasted the day away with a house party featuring a traditional method Malvasia Fina and an unecessary quanity of local wines form Dao and Bairrada.