Meet Grape Discoveries Founder, James Mayor
I have always been both a wine lover and passionate about art
My first job was selling wine in London. Later I moved to Paris and opened an art gallery. Through these two experiences, I became fascinated by the place wine occupies in art. Wine has been fundamental to Western culture ever since the Romans and it has figured in painting and literature throughout the centuries. A talented wine maker is like a great artist: they are working in an exciting space between agriculture and artistic creation. I love tasting new wines and I really enjoy talking to the people who make them.
I have an emotional relationship with the Douro Valley
Not only is the Douro the most beautiful wine region in Portugal, it also has some of the most stunning landscape that I have ever seen anywhere. On my first visit I was completely knocked sideways by the grandeur of the scenery. The environment is so completely relaxing that I always get recharged in no time at all. Although it’s very peaceful here there's also incredible energy with strong local communities and gifted producers making superb wines. I love this balance between their traditional way of life and the creative innovation required for great wine making.
This is why I created Grape Discoveries
My best kind of holiday is one that gives you the chance to meet local people and find out what makes the place you're visiting special. Grape Discoveries was born from a desire to create wine holidays that embrace wine's cultural context. We curate a textured experience, exploring the different ways in which wine is a cultural phenomenon here in the Douro Valley. We look at the role played by wine in local communities, and how it has shaped architecture and landscape and even inspired writers and film directors.
Why I recommend people to visit the Douro with Grape Discoveries
Travelling with us at a gentle pace, in groups of up to four Travellers, you will meet our local friends and the many contacts we have created to provide an immersive and sensory experience of the Douro wine region. The Douro is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Landscape and we respect this unique cultural eco-system. You will feel like a privileged wine enthusiast … on holiday!