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The regulator and testing centre for all still and fortified wine produced in the Douro Valley is housed in a suitably majestic building in the heart of Oporto. The granite fronted building of the IVDP (Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto aka Douro & Port Wine Institute), that use to house a bank, proudly displays one of the original markers laid out in 1756 to set the regions boundary. To be honest its just a chunk of stone that doesn’t make for a terribly interesting photo. But upstairs – above the shop, the extensive tasting rooms, chemical labs and technical analysis labs – lies a rather grand room, the IVDP Library.

The library was created in 1933. It contains a “vast collection of technical, historical, economic, geographic ad ethnographic papers, books and documents on Port wine”. It also holds a collection of 1200 photos of the Douro, commissioned by the IVDP in 1933, by Domingos Alvâo (1872-1946). If only I had known! I would have loved to have seen a selection. Instead I made do with walking around the long table and taking a few photos…

Photograph: IVDP Library, Oporto

Photograph: IVDP Library, Oporto

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