Wine Tasting at Macau Wine Museum

Thursday, May 28, 2015

If you have not been to a wine museum before, this is your chance to add this experience to your travel book for almost free. Macau Wine Museum is located in the same basement as the Macau Grand Prix Museum in a building called "Centre of Tourism Activities" which is located at a walkable distance from Sands Macau and Macau Fisherman's Wharf. Its opposite Sands Macau & Grand Lapa Hotel and behind Waldo Casino and Hotel. There is a park called Golden Lotus Square in front of the Centre. Macau Public Bus numbers 1A, 3, 10, 10B, 10X, 23, 28A, 28B, 28BX, 28C, and 32 service this location, the nearby bus stop being Polytechnic Institute. Or you can take a free shuttle bus to Sands Macau and walk to the Centre. You will see a picture of the Centre of Tourism Activities below. The museum opens Wednesday to Monday from 10.00am to 8.00pm. Entry is free but one may like to buy a ticket for wine tasting. This wine museum is about wines from Portugal. Here they tell the history of vine and wine, the wine making processes, and how wine is a part of the Portuguese culture. All this maybe interesting or boring depending on how you look at these things. The wine tasting opportunity and and the in-house wine shop are interesting for sure. Keep reading...

Macau Wine Museum

According to a write-up in the museum, "The history of vine and wine told here through maps reflecting different journeys and periods in time consists of evidence gained from historical documents and the multiple interpretations of those who construct history. The museum takes visitors on a journey that most probably starts at some point around ten thousand years before the birth of Christ somewhere located in the Caucasus or Mesopotamia."

A wine Press on Display at Macau Wine Museum

Wine Exhibits at Macau Wine Museum

The wine making equipment, the storage, and the packaging in colorful bottles of many different designs are all on display here. In addition, one gets to see dozens of pictures of local wine producing regions and costumes of the people belonging to those regions of Portugal.

Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting Glasses at Macau Wine Museum

A visit to this museum will obviously not be complete unless you taste the stuff. Two types of wine tasting tickets are sold here:

A 10 MOP ticket for one wine glass per person, and a 15 MOP ticket for three wine glasses per person. The 15 MOP ticket offers super value and only that one should be purchased. The wine glasses are big here but the quantity of wine poured into each glass is really small so anyone can drink all three without any chance of getting a real kick.

Wine Tasting Counter

Wine Tasting Counter at Macau Wine Museum

The wine tasting counter is located at the end of the museum exhibits, close to the wine shop. The guy at the counter, I think from Portugal, is always in a hurry and will rather pour your three glasses without telling you much. But to his credit, he told me what a port wine is and what a dry wine is. A port wine is a wine mixed with outside alcohol, like a brandy. A dry wine contains almost no sugar. About a dozen bottles of wines are available at this counter from which you are allowed to choose any three. Please read the following for some basics on wine tasting and how to choose your three wines.  

Wine Tasting process is a combination of four steps as under:

- Judging appearance of the wine

- Smelling the wine

- Tasting the wine

- Coming to a conclusion

How to go about these four steps is written behind the wine tasting counter in the museum and it is a good idea to read that. I reproduce below what I read there for your information:


Clarity: Is the wine bright and healthy looking or is hazy or cloudy?

Intensity: Is the color deep or pale?

Color: Hold the glass at an angle against a white background and assess the color, especially at the edge or rim. Red wine begins life as purple, changing with age to ruby, garnet and, eventually, brown. The change in color is best seen on the rim of the wine.


The smell of a wine is known as its "nose". While assessing the nose, the various aromas may be released by swirling the wine in the glass. This also allows the oxygen from the air to freshen the wine and bring it into its peak condition.

Sniff gently but deeply and look for the following:

Condition - Does the wine smell pleasant and clean, or is there any mustiness, cork, or smell of bad eggs?

Intensity - Is the nose weak or pronounced?

Character - The actual description of the fruit character is difficult at first. Constant practice will highlight various fruit or other characteristics. Examples include grape, blackcurrant, raspberry, flowery, violets, lychees, apples, peaches, apricots, honey, nuts, petrol, oak, vanilla, spice, bread, yeast, smoke, and many others.


The taste of the wine, which is called "palate", reveals the true nature of the wine. Take a small mouthful and swirl it around the mouth, so that it contacts all parts of the mouth, tongue and gums. This is necessary because different parts of the mouth are sensitive to different tastes.

It is possible to assess the following:

Sweetness - Is immediately noticeable on the tip of the tongue, a wine with no sugar is called "dry".

Acidity - Lemon juice is acidic and makes the mouth water. Acidity is very important in wine, as it gives the wine "balance". Too much and the wine is tart, too little and the wine is flabby.

Tannin - This is the substance that makes young red wines seem harsh. It is felt on gums and tongue and makes the mouth feel dry. As the wine matures, the tannin comes out of the wine forming part of the deposit. The wine then tastes more balanced. To experience the taste of tannin, just brew a cup of very strong tea.

Body - This is the general "feel" of the wine in the mouth. Wines from Vinho Verde feel light, whereas a red Douro feels big and heavy.

Fruit Character - The overall taste of fruit in the mouth. In general, the better the wine, the greater the level of fruit.

Length - This strange term simply means how long the flavor lingers after spitting or swallowing. Usually, the longer the better.


Finally, after tasting, it is necessary to evaluate the wine. The main points are:

Quality - Is a judgement of whether the wine is a good example of its kind, or merely an ordinary one.

Maturity - This is a measure of the state of readiness for drinking. Age and maturity are not the same. Many wines are made to drink at less than a year old while others only get better with age.

My Personal Tips for Wine Tasting in Macau Wine Museum

Assuming you have purchased the coupon for three wines (15 MOP), try to choose one white, one red and one sparkling wine. Remember dry wines contain no or little sugar. A port wine is a wine that has been mixed with brandy or some other outside alcohol. So choose wisely.

If you have chosen a sparking wine, save it for the last because the strong and pleasant taste of a sparkling wine will make it impossible to properly taste other wines immediately afterwards.

Taste the red wine first because a red wine is likely to have the weakest flavor of the three.

After a while, taste the white wine, and in the end the sparkling wine.

The Wine Shop

The Wine Shop in Macau Wine Museum

Wine on Sale at Macau Wine Museum

The wine shop here is really nice because they have several different Portuguese wines at prices starting just 85 MOP per bottle. Take the help of the staff to choose your wine.

I know we do not become wine experts after a dumb tasting session in a place like this but there is no harm in trying. That is why I have given all that wine tasting process in detail above. You may like to read it again before you go there.

Centre of Tourism Activities Macau

Centre of Tourism Activities Macau

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I left my day job in October 2013 and became a full time blogger. I love travel and hence a travel blog was the obvious place to start from. The result is I currently live in Bengaluru, India. - Narinder Singh.


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