Portugal Wine Guide


With its longstanding reputation for being a great fortified wines producer, Portugal is now being acclaimed for its production of outstanding red wines from the Douro region.

The other country in the Iberian Peninsula south-west of Spain has vines throughout its entire territory with the exception of the highest mountain peaks. The Portuguese vineyards enjoy a variety of climates. The majority of the country experiences an oceanic influence with hot summers and cooler moist winters. But inlands the continental climate brings dryness and scorching heat. The Douro has a continental climate tempered by the river influence.

History of Wine in Portugal

Vine culture was brought by the Phoenicians thousand years ago. The Roman settlers helped to grow the viticultural sector but it strongly decreased during the Muslim period. The emergence of the Portuguese nation between the tenth and the thirteenth centuries enabled wine's return to grace. Afterward, the trade with Great Britain led to the development of Portugal's wine sector. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the wine and trade companies like Port houses were thriving thanks to the British. Port and Madeira wines were the country's flagships export.

But the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were a period of decline. A lot of native grapes became extinct because of the phylloxera. The dictatorship persuaded the producers to drop the vineyards in favor of wheat, leading to the wine sector's ruin.

The establishment of a new democracy and the accession to the European Union were the game changer for Portuguese wine. The country adopted an appellation system no unlike the other European countries and received inflows of foreign investment for the rural areas to build modern wine estates.

Nowadays, the wine sector is comprised of a lot of small cooperatives in the north. There are a few big companies with huge vineyards like Sogape. The Quintas are small wine estates which have leaved the cooperative system to produce distinctive high quality wine.

Major Wine Regions In Portugal

The most famous DOC is the Port region which produces the famous fortified wines. Alongside there is the DOC Douro which make superior quality red wines. A few little wine regions like Dão and Alentejo are trying to rise with a better quality of wines. The island of Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean is well-known for its production of fortified wines.

Portugal Grape Varieties

Portugal has a high number of native varieties which give the country its distinctive wines.

Touriga Nacional is a famous red grape which produces the best wines including Port and dry reds from Douro and Dão. It gives the drink an intense red color, strong flavors and tannins. Tinta Roriz or Aragonês is used to make strong complex blend wines with ripe tannins. Castelão produces fruity red wines which age to reveal dry fruits notes. Baga brings coloured, tannic and acid red wines. Trincadeira is planted to make a fruity and spicy wine with a lovely colour and strong tannins.

Arinto is a white variety which produces fruity wines with crisp acidity. The other local white varieties are Loureiro, Trajadura, Alvarinho, Fernão Pires and Antão Vaz.

Our wines from Portugal