5 minutes of old footage – Port wine transportation on the Douro

On the back of last night’s Lockdown Live! wine session entitled “Don’t mind if I Douro”, we were nattering about, funnily enough, the Douro valley in Portugal.  How things have changed in the last hundred years.  Back in the day, the Douro river was a fast moving river that required the skill and bravery of seamen to navigate its rapids.  The ancient bargos, known as rabelos, were sail boats with oars.  Flat-bottomed, they were used to transport barrels containing port wine down river to the safety of the city of Oporto, where they would be prepared for their onward journey to London, amongst many other cities across Europe.  Look out for the oxen who had a roll in pulling the little boats through the trickiest parts of the river – monstrous work, even for an ox!

It wasn’t uncommon for barrels to be lost during their voyage and it’s easy to see why in the following old footage taken probably from the 1920s.  Sit back with a glass in hand and enjoy this short movie!

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