It is not surprising that the mystic, beautiful Azores islands, surrounded by dreamy turquoise waves are often referred to as the Hawaii of the Atlantic. Their volcanic similarity and paradise-likeliness make them comparable, but “Portugal’s best kept secret”, with its picturesque landscapes, small and genuine towns, astonishing wilderness and amazing marine life has everything the traveler’s heart desires, but without the masses, traffic and overwhelming prices you find on most beautiful island destinations.
If you love good music, breath-taking views and just having a good time, it’s not too late to hop on a plane and make your way to the amazing islands of the Azores! Between the 27th and 29th of July, the Caloura Blues festival will bring blues to the S. Miguel Island. Bands like Midnight Club, Delta Blues Riders and Safarah will fill the nights’ air with lovely tunes. This weekend, be ready to indulge in a journey of sounds with your feet in the sand while watching the sun setting into the deep blue waters.
And if the music and the natural beauty of the mysterious lands, embedded by clear blue sea and steep and wild mountains aren’t already more than enough to run for a pen to put the Azores on the top of your bucket list, be prepared to learn about one more surprise in the Azores’ natural treasure chest: apart from being the only place in Europe where it is possible to naturally cultivate tea, tobacco and pineapple, its absolutely gorgeous wine heritage dates back over 500 years and produces truly unique wines! Obviously, they are even better combined with the breathtaking views the islands have to offer!
The vineyards were started not long after settlement by the Franciscan monks and plated directly into cracks of the magma layer, making use of organic residues to help the young vines grow. These vines produce exceptional (white) wine out of mainly the famous Verdelho grape and have been a major part of the agricultural economy, exporting all over the world.
In the 17th and 18th century the Verdelho wines produced on the island of Pico were widely exported to Russia and after the revolution in 1917, many bottles of the Verdelho from Pico were found in former Russian tsars’ cellars, stored just like a treasure.
The wine can only be cultivated on three of the nine islands, though. The wind of salty air and the rain can damage the vines and therefore they need to be planted in a naturally sheltered area or protected by the curious looking “currais”, which are little walls built out of black basalt stones. These results of human determination and fighting against nature’s adversariness make the vineyards look like ancient ruins and the legend tells that by dismantling the walls and placing the stones into a line, you could circle the world twice!
Since 1994 Pico, Graciosa and Terceira (Biscoitos) are distinguished with designations of origin. However, since 2004 there is also the designation of origin of the whole Azores region, including all islands. The main grapes are Verdelho, Arinto, Terrantez, Boal and Fernão Pires and produce both light dry whites and the famous fortified/licoroso wines.
Being our mission to promote the vast diversity of Portuguese wines from North to South and also the island regions, Wine With a View went to Terceira Island (but we will definitely come back to see the others, too!) to learn more about their delicious wines and fantastic origin! And of course, we want to share our discoveries with you:
WWAV Tip #1 How to get there?
As you have certainly come to understand, these heavenly islands are an absolute must-see and the as we mentioned before, they are much more affordable and less crowded than most islands are. In fact, there are obviously direct flights from continental Portugal but now there are also five direct flight every week from the US to the Azores and many European countries! For more info, check https://www.visitazores.com/en/getting-here
WWAV Tip #2 Where to stay?
If you go to Terceira island like we did, we can highly recommend the Casa Maria Luísa located in the gorgeous city of Angra do Heroismo. With its wonderfully tasteful decoration and quietness, it perfect to relax while having a glass of Wine With a View in the beautiful garden next to the swimming pool. The hosts are extremely nice and helpful and will make your stay a dream come true!
WWAV Tip #3 What to do?
Definitely don’t miss out on the Azores Touch Tours if you want to engage in an unforgettable experience! The guides are very knowledgeable locals, helpful and friendly and will make your day a super fun and special memory. They show you all the secret spots, while highly customizing each tour to make sure every single one of their guests gets to see and do what they want.
Also, Wine With a View is preparing some major projects, such as offering the delicious Azores wine, so stay tuned!
And now, grab your unbreakable Wine With a View glass, hop on a flight and explore the sheer beauty of the impressive Azores islands and their wonderful wines! Tell us about your experiences!