The cave has been flooded badly on a number of occasions, and Jessica showed us marks on the wall where the tide had been, several meters high.
The good news is that the port wasn't damaged at all- those barrels were waterproof. Phew!
The bottom number here is the number of litres left in the barrel,
I must apologise for the shine on the photo- I promise I hadn't been drinking port when I took this- the tour was so fast-moving that I had to just point, shoot, then move on so I wouldn't miss any of the interesting stuff.
At the end, we got to taste two (large) samples of port, one white, yummy, and one tawny red. I had never tasted white port before, so that was interesting, and I would definitely be game for that again!
I don't drink red wines, so just took a tiny sip of the red one.
These are the kind of boats that would be used to transport the fermented port from the Duoro Valley to the cave-warehouse in Porto, where it is left to mature in the huge barrels.
They are no longer used, this one if just for show. Trucks are faster.
The most interesting thing I learned was about the little barrels. They are used first to mature table wine for 3 years, then the port house gets them, and uses them for 50 years. The port loses its colour as it matures, bleeds it into the oak of the barrel.
The barrels are then sent to Scotland and used to mature whiskey. The whiskey is naturally clear, colourless liquid, but as it matures, it takes the colour back from the oak.