Sometimes, the effort you have to make really is justified by the end result. Our recent location trip to Portugal to shoot wine in the Douro valley is a pretty good case in point.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Douro, it is a spectacular mix of hills, mountains, valleys and vineyards, which until very recently had a transport infrastructure straight from the 19th Century.

Porto combo.jpg

But, let me rewind to the start of our journey. A flight delay of 4.5 hours (thank you, well-known-budget-airline) meant we landed in Porto at 0300 am; and the subsequent transfer to our location meant we arrived at our shoot digs at 0500 am.

This was no mean feat given that access to the house is described on its website as ‘only accessible by a kilometre of unpaved road, this road is narrow with a vertical drop on one side - not for those who suffer from vertigo’. It was probably a good thing that we were travelling in the pitch black.


Stressed and travel weary, we were allocated our rooms and given our call time for the following morning (if a 4 hour turnaround is classed as the following morning), then absolute, pure unadulterated silence as everyone’s head hit the pillow.

It really was one of those instances when 10 seconds after falling asleep, your alarm goes off! Heart pounding, brow sweating, total and utter confusion about, “where the hell I am?”

Staggering into the kitchen, looking for a coffee (and hopefully a crew), it was not the most promising start to a shooting day. But then sometimes a little spark of magic just gets the creative juices flowing and the production engine fired up and running.


As the shutters were unfastened and the french windows pushed open, we all saw the location in which we were going to be shooting for the next 3 days. I refer you back to the opening sentence of this article.