The World of Wine is located in the new cultural quarter in Porto / Gaia. Here, in the old warehouses of the wine producers, a modern complex with museums and restaurants has been created.
You can visit a total of 7 museums at the World of Wine. Each one has a different thematic focus, but they all deal with topics related to Porto and wine. There is a separate article about the museums “The Bridge Collection”, “Porto Region across the Ages” and “Porto Fashion & Fabric Museum” which you can reach via this link.
In this article we present the 4 other museums and exhibitions.
The Planet Cork Museum is one of the current 7 museums in WOW Porto. It is located in the main building of the complex. For me, the subject of cork was a hitherto unnoticed topic, so I was very curious to see what would await me there.
What is cork?
Cork is the outermost layer of tissue that forms as bark in some plant species. This is usually very thin. In the case of the cork oak, a layer of cork several centimetres thick forms. This layer is used to make cork, which is also used to make the closures of wine bottles.
During the visit to Planet Cork, you first learn about the cork oak and its distribution in Europe. A map clearly shows that there are many cork oak areas in Portugal.
The topic of cork harvesting and processing is a central theme of the exhibition. About every 8-12 years, the cork bark on the trees is peeled. During the first peeling, the bark of the tree is still quite resinous and, due to its composition, is suitable as a natural building material that is used, for example, in thermal insulation. The next peelings of the tree bark then yield a raw material that is low in resin and suitable for the production of bottle corks and other industrial products. Each tree can produce about 100 – 200 kilograms of cork in the course of its life.
The production of the bottle cork plays a central role in World of Wine. Impressive pictures and video sequences explain the process, but also make it clear that the producers use as much of the raw material as possible. For example, the leftovers are ground into granules and used to make products that require greater strength (e.g. flooring, champagne corks, insulation material).
Is it worth the visit?
What I particularly liked about Planet Cork was that, in addition to the technical presentation, there was also a lot of interaction. We had our body weight weighed out in wine corks and learned, for example, that cork is used in film production to make noise.
I was able to customise a wine cork for €1 at a vending machine. Now all that’s missing is my own wine!
The cork furniture was not particularly soft, but quite stylish. Excitingly, body heat was very quickly absorbed and stored by the material. I wonder if this is also the case with clothing made from cork.
The tour was over much too quickly, the topic of sustainable raw materials was presented very well and informatively. The “visions for the future” also got me excited about the raw material.
At the end, in the cork shop, I was glad that our luggage was limited. Besides great yoga products, there were also cute children’s toys that I would have loved to buy immediately.
The Chocolate Story
In an adjoining building is the Chocolate Story – the exhibition at World of Wine that focuses on the theme of chocolate.
Cocoa tree and cocoa bean
At the beginning of the exhibition, the origin of the cocoa bean was discussed, looking back to the time of the Aztecs. An exciting journey through time, which also highlighted the value of the bean over the years.
Cocoa is obtained from the fruit of the cocoa tree, which grows in a tropical, humid climate. About 70% of all cultivation areas are in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. The seed of the tree is also called the cocoa bean. From this bean, the cocoa mass is extracted, which is processed into cocoa butter or powder.
The exhibition does not forget the problems surrounding the cultivation of the cocoa bean. A large part of the production takes place in the small farming family, which secures its livelihood in this way. Often the children have to work in the families and schooling is neglected. Large-scale buyers are able to push down the purchase price of the goods. The available trees are then no longer sufficient to cover the livelihood. As a result, more land is needed for cultivation and rainforest areas are cleared.
This problem and also the work of the farmers is well addressed in small films.
The beverage cocoa, which is so popular with us, already existed in the times of the Aztecs. They called the drink made from cocoa beans “xocóatl”, after “xócoc” (bitter) and “atl” (water), i.e. bitter water. So it must not have tasted the same as it does today. You could see for yourself how bitter a cocoa bean tastes in the exhibition.
There is the possibility to taste the cocoa bean. I had to realise – delicious is different. It was extremely bitter and not at all reminiscent of cocoa as we know it today. Today’s drink contains huge amounts of sugar to suit people’s tastes.
Chocolate is a solid but easily meltable foodstuff made from cocoa beans and sugar, which was only invented in the 19th century.
The theme of chocolate is also taken up in the Chocolate Museum at the World of Wine. There is a glass production facility. Here you can watch how chocolate is made. If you like, you can make your own chocolate lollipop or, with a bit of luck, fish a bar of chocolate out of a vending machine with a gripper.
In any case, a visit to the museum whets your appetite for chocolate, which you can fortunately satisfy immediately on site.
Hot chocolate at Vinte Vinte
We were drawn to the Vinte Vinte cafeteria at the end of the tour, which is directly adjacent to the museum shop. Here you can get sweet hot chocolate with lots of cream, a sin you deserve after visiting the exhibition.
The Wine Experience
What would the World of Wine in Porto be without a wine museum?
In the Wine Experience, everything revolves around the theme of wine and here visitors will find an impressive multimedia and varied exhibition.
A huge illuminated globe rotates in a room. Photos of wine-growing regions hang on the walls, with the places in the world where the wine is grown hidden underneath. A great idea that encouraged us to assign the wine-growing regions.
But of course, the growing regions in Portugal are the main focus of the exhibition. You learn all about their location, the soil conditions and the special features of regional cultivation. In a reconstructed street, you can go into houses where each region is presented in more detail. I felt like I was in a travel agency that wanted to make the regions “palatable” for my next holiday. And to be honest, it succeeds…
The topics of wine growing, harvesting of the grapes, processing, bottling, storage and, last but not least, enjoyment are the dominant themes in this exhibition. The process of winemaking is explained in detail and visually illustrated. You can stand in a wine barrel, learn about the structure of the grape with the help of a giant model and, of course, see pictures of the grape harvest.
What type of wine are you?
I found one station particularly exciting, where you were assigned to a “wine type” based on a few questions about taste. Afterwards, you could search for “your” type in a picture gallery. There you received information about the growing region of the grape variety, among other things.
Before the tour of the Wine Experience in the World of Wine ended, we were able to train our sense of smell at an experiment station. We tried to find out the typical smells that can be detected in wine. We did not always succeed!
Wine Tasting for Beginners
The day was rounded off with a short training session on “How do I taste wine? A glass of wine was poured and a member of staff explained the individual steps of a wine tasting – colour, smell, taste.
The little explanations should provide us with a guide for future wine tastings. So that we could then consolidate what we had just learned, we were given a voucher for a glass of wine in the suspiro cafeteria.
Of course, we drank the wine right away and thus concluded our visit to the World of Wine on this day.
The Pink Palace is housed in an annexe of the World of Wine and was the exhibition area where we met the most visitors during our visits.
The Pink Palace is not a museum as you imagine a museum to be. It’s actually a place to take fun photos and drink a lot of wine. After all, you are in the World of Wine!
Bags, jackets … are best left in the free lockers at the entrance and only take your camera or mobile phone inside. Every visitor receives a pink wristband with 5 detachable buttons and a plastic glass (you can keep it at the end).
The theme at the Pink Palace is of course also wine. Not red or white wine, but rosé wine (i.e. pink wine) is the theme at various stations. To be honest, I had the feeling that the very well-designed information boards hardly interested the visitors.
During the short tour, you come to 5 stands where you can try a glass of rosé. All you have to do is show your wristband, remove one of the white buttons and the glass is poured.
I am a fan of rosé wines and enjoyed the 5 quite different wines very much.
The drinking alone is nice, but not the real attraction of the tour. There are numerous photo spots where you can pose more or less artfully. As the amount of wine increased, the visitors’ “inhibitions” noticeably fell. Whether a jump into the naturally pink ball pool or wild contortions in the upside-down photo box, everything was captured with a photo.
Of course, the “ride” in the pink Amish sleigh or the view from the huge champagne bottle while drinking a “pink” wine are also popular.
Our tip: take the time to relax in the pink beanbag, drink the wine and watch the visitors. The Pink Palace is fun with a delicious drop of wine.
WOW – Coffee break
After or before a visit to the museum, just for fun or as a little break in between, several restaurants and cafés in the WOW invite you to relax.
We took a break in the main building in a small café in the shopping arcade. Here you can sit comfortably and get very good coffee.
WOW – World of Wine
Rua do Choupelo, 39
Gaia – Porto, Portugal
Opening hours of the museums:
daily 10-20 h
The Chocolate Story
The Wine Experience
There is the possibility to purchase a discounted museum pass.
Eintrittskarten vorher online kaufen
The visit to the WOW in Porto took place as part of research in cooperation with Lieb Management and the WOW.