Master Sommelier Laura Maniec, the owner of New York’s Corkbuzz Wine Studio, recently visited Oporto, Portugal and explored the Vinho Verde wine region. “In addition to light, refreshing, slightly effervescent, crisp white wine, the region has many indigenous grape varietals that are unknown in other parts of the world including grapes like Arinto, Azal, Loureiro, and the more well-known grape Alvarinho, which goes by the name Albariño in Spain,” says Maniec. Between wine tastings, Maniec explored the city’s art, culture, and restaurants. Here, she shares highlights from her trip.

O Gaveto
“You must stop at a marisqueira for fresh shellfish and local seafood specialties. O Gaveto is as traditional as you can get. You will feel like you took a time capsule back to the 1970s. Décor is minimalist, but the wine list is incredible and features back vintages of Alvarinho from producers like Solheiro (means ‘sun-trap’) and Anselmo Mendes.” Rua Roberto Ivens 826, Matosinhos, 351/229-378-796, ogaveto.com 

Adega de S. Nicolau
“For more of a refined take on traditional Portuguese food, check out Adega de S. Nicolau which was established in the 1930s and was recently renovated in 2012. Must-try dishes include sardines, salt cod, braised lamb with chestnuts, and the lamb stuffed with ham.” Rua de S. Nicolau 1, Ribeira, 351/222-008-232

Restaurante Traça
“The last stop on your culinary tour should include Restaurante Traça, where everything on the menu will make your mouth water. Start with a late of prato de presunto belota (acorn-fed ham) and then for your main course order the polvo assado no forno con batata a murro e grelos (oven-baked octopus with baked potatoes and turnip greens). Largo de São Domingos 88, 351/222-081-065, restaurantetraca.com

Livraria Lello
“This is such a romantic bookstore. It’s focused on classic, early-20th-century works and is great for unique gifts. The architecture is stunning.” Rua das Carmelitas 144, 351/222-002-037 

Casa da Música
“Watch a live music concert at Oporto’s concert hall. It was designed by Rem Koolhaas and made of white concrete, and inside rooms have geometric tiles and funky folded glass windows that are almost like curtains that distort the views of the city.” Avenida da Boavista 604-610, 351/ 220-120-220, casadamusica.com

Hotel Casa do conto

Hotel Casa do Conto Arts & Residence
“I stayed at this six-room, solar-powered, eco-friendly hotel (above), which was renovated to feel like a home. The architecture is very cool and rooms are decorated with vintage furniture. The hotel hosts book and CD launches, holds art exhibits, and shows films and documentaries on projection screens.” Rua da Boavista 703, 351/220-936-300, casadoconto.com

Vila Nova de Gaia
“This historical town is located on the other side of the Douro River. You can walk across the Arrabida bridge to reach it. Vila Nova de Gaia used to be home to all of the port houses. Many of them are still open for visits and tastings.”