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James Mayor with Tony Smith at Quinta de CovelaIn June, James Mayor of Grape Discoveries interviewed Tony Smith of Lima & Smith, an Englishman shaping Douro table wines on the international wine map.

In 2011, reacting to shifts in the media industry, Tony Smith decided to step aside from a successful career as foreign correspondent and editor, exchanging the dangers of covering conflicts in Bosnia or Rwanda for the risks of vineyard ownership. His career as a journalist had included a posting in Portugal, where Smith had bought a home and made friends. The next step was to realize Smith’s life-long yearning to own a business linked to his passion for wine.

VineAutumnOnly a few years ago, you might have been considered an oeno-masochist for contemplating imbibing a Douro wine in the summer. Quality whites hardly existed, so the reaction would probably have been “you don’t mean one of those heavyweight reds?!” writes James Mayor.

Today, not only are more and more Douro wines playing in the top league, these wines are also easier to find in specialist stores outside Portugal. The reds have become lighter in alcohol and more elegant, and an increasing number of talented, often innovative, producers are making some outstanding whites and roses.

oportoJames Mayor talks to Virgilio Ferreira, the Director of Ci.CLO Bienal’19 Fotografia do Porto, the first Photography Biennial of Porto, which is being held in Porto, Portugal, until 2 July 2019.

Few cities in the world have succeeded in winning the accolade of Best European Destination three times. Porto, in Portugal, was awarded this distinction in 2012, 2014 and 2017. This summer, there is a new reason to visit this devastatingly beautiful city on the shores of the Atlantic.

oportoFew cities in the world have succeeded in winning the accolade of Best European Destination three times. Porto, in Portugal, was awarded this distinction in 2012, 2014 and 2017. This summer, there is a new reason to visit this devastatingly beautiful city on the shores of the Atlantic.

An exhibition of Pablo Picasso´s monumental series of one hundred etchings, the Vollard Suite, has recently opened at the Palacio das Artes, where it will be showing until 11 September 2019.

fireThe cathedral of Notre-Dame, a gothic masterpiece which survived Hitler`s plans to blow up Paris, as well as a 2016 attempted bombing attack, last night suffered immeasurable damage from a huge fire.

During the thirty years I lived in Paris, Notre-Dame was a reassuring daily companion, soaring over the turbulence of the modern-day capital, on the Isle de la Cite, one of the two islands in the middle of the River Seine, in the very heart of Paris.

 James Mayor talks to Adrian BridgeThe wine industry takes the lead in mitigating climate change: James Mayor talks to Adrian Bridge, CEO of Taylor`s Port, about the Climate Change Leadership Conference

The ancient city of Porto is home to an important new initiative to mitigate the effects of climate change. The Porto Protocol was launched in July 2018, at a summit with Barack Obama as keynote speaker, establishing an innovative platform for the wine industry to share environmental best practices.

duoroterracesThe Douro is the world`s largest mountain vineyard and its grapes are grown on slopes that often have startlingly steep gradients. With extremely low yields per hectare, this is the last major wine region in the world where the grapes are still entirely hand-picked. The cost of producing a kilo of grapes is consequently high.

eiffeltowerLess than a month after President Emmanuel Macron welcomed world leaders in Paris for a moving commemoration of the centenary of the Armistice which concluded World War 1, Paris was this weekend again the scene of horrific urban violence, a sad backlash against a model of society that no longer appears to be working, writes james Mayor.

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