Why us

Off-the-beaten-path in the Douro Valley

Grape Discoveries is less a tour and more a private guided adventure, an off-the-beaten-path to lesser known, barely discovered places in Portugal’s breathtakingly beautiful Douro Valley wine country.

Just you and your chosen small group will explore the personal rooms of a family’s manor home, eat homemade “petiscos” (small plates) around an eighteenth-century kitchen table, walk secret paths through fragrant orchards, taste rising-star  wines on a sunny estate terrace, and meet the real people who devote themselves to making great Douro wines every day.

The magic of Grape Discoveries is James Mayor’s unique way of blending his passion for winemaking and wine tasting with intimate nature explorations and delightful cultural experiences in the Douro’s lesser-known places. We help you discover what makes Portugal’s Douro Valley wines so fantastic; it’s not only the terroir, but the unequalled combination of its people, heritage, land, and culture.

“And man made the wine, the wine made the men, and the men made the Douro.” António Barreto – Sociologist, professor, journalist, researcher and author dedicated to themes of agrarian reform, the evolution of Portuguese society, and a portrait of the Douro region.


Why the Douro Valley?

Easily reached on one of our day trips from Porto, the Douro Valley is the wildest and most romantic landscape of Europe’s wine regions. The world’s largest mountain vineyard, for decades the Douro was almost inaccessible. Dramatic steep terraces embrace rugged stony soil, forcing the vines to work hard at survival and produce grapes with unusual flavors to make wines that are among the finest anywhere.

Through our personal relationships, Grape Discoveries gives you intimate and exclusive access to some of the Douro’s legendary private vineyards and pioneering boutique wineries.

Why Porto?

On our Porto tours we introduce you to Porto, the new wine and food destination, showcasing innovative table wines of the Douro, against a fabulously beautiful architectural backdrop.

The gateway to the Douro, for centuries Porto has been the city from which Port wine is shipped overseas. In 1996, Porto was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Grape Discoveries gives you an insiders’ introduction to Porto and the Douro!


Amanda and Tim (UK)
"It’s almost impossible to describe the beauty of the Douro! It's like Tuscany without the tourists. We'll treasure our many wonderful memories."
Bert and Monica (USA)
"We went on one of the best walks we have ever done. An amazing tour. We totally recommend Grape Discoveries."
Martha and Dirk (USA)
"The Douro is definitely one of Europe's best kept secrets. We loved the small traditional villages out of another century. James was the best guide you could hope for."
Silvia and Rodrigo (Portugal)
"Fantastic wine and amazing views! We're telling our friends about Grape Discoveries..."
Vicky and Archie (Canada)
"James was an outstanding host, showing us the hidden heart of the Douro and its rich culture. The wines and food were extraordinary. We can't wait for our next tour with Grape Discoveries!"
Michel and Adrien (France)
"We did not know the Douro has so many great treasures. This was a wonderful day with everything looked after. Merci Grape Discoveries!"
Judith (USA)
"James is a lively and expert guide who answers any and all questions about the Douro, its wines and Port. His well-travelled and enthusiastic perspective on the country added to my enjoyment."
Mary (Australia)
"We had so much fun on this tour! I cannot express how fantastic our tour experience with Grape Discoveries has been for us."
Marty (USA)
"James Mayor of Grape Discoveries is an excellent guide... friendly, knowledgeable and a pleasure to spend the day with."
Alex (USA)
"We had no idea how delightful our day would be. No great tour exists without a fantastic tour guide and James is perfect, easy-going, charming and a tremendous expert on wine and the region"
Gianluca (Italy)
"The Douro is about grapes. The grape is about life and people. James drives you right to the heart of this. An absolutely unique and unmissable experience!"
Sandy (USA)
"James showed us a part of the valley we would never have seen on a standard tour. Thank you for a wonderful day that we will remember for ever."
Della (UK)
"James Mayor has to be the best guide we have ever travelled with and the places we visited were second to none."