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Antao Vaz grapes

by | Sep 26, 2016

Antao Vaz or Atonio Vaz is a one of the prime White wine grape varieties of Portugal. It is named after the grandfather of Luís Vaz de Camões, the Portuguese poet who wrote about discoveries.

Antao Vaz

They are cultivated in the regions with hot and dry climates like the Alenjeto of Portugal. Mostly they are used to make wines of various styles that have tropical fruit flavors and are citrus and honey like taste.

Their berries are loosely clustered have thick skin that makes them disease resistant. It has been found that they are capable of surviving in drought like conditions too. They get ripe in a short time and have an extensive productivity.

Wine grape varieties

In 1933, when Antonio Salazar implemented Estado Novo or the Second Republic in Portugal, the wine industry started getting close to its downfall.

The government reorganized many industries and wine making was one of them. Cooperatives were set up for wine production.

The State had a quite strong control over it and the winemakers were forced to keep profit over quality as their priority. The industry began to fall due to the unsatisfactory quality and other countries had issues in dealing with the Portuguese wine dealers.

The country was politically and socially isolated from the rest of the Europe. In the Carnation Revolution of 1974, the government was one again overthrown by the military and a new constitution was framed in 1776.

Finally after 1986, when Portugal joined the EU the wine industry truly had its resurrection. Now they export wine to the US and many other countries in large quantity.

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Due to the previously State run industry, very little research had been conducted regarding Portugal native wines. At that time, wine was treated as a commercial product and its history was of little value for the authorities.

All that can be made sure about the past is that sweet, fortified wine was made extensively. Recently they are engaged in making dry table wines for export.

Due to the limited information about wines, very less is known about the origin of Antao Vaz except that it is famous native Portuguese wine and is exclusively grown in the Vidigueira state of Alentejano, as earlier mentioned.

This region is located about halfway in mid of the Atlantic Ocean & the Spanish border, the southern half of Portugal.

Its seeds had not been much introduced in any other place out of this region, so its name remains unaltered almost everywhere.


The grapes are versatile in quality and are used to make a wide variety of wines.  If the berries are picked early, they give light, citrus tasting wines with sharp, sour taste, but if left on the vine for longer, the berries get rounder and make plumper wine that is further barrel aged.

Most vines are produced for immediate consumption, though some can be aged till years for the fruity characters to evolve.

Antao Vaz is suitable for hot climates. Hence the Alentejo’s sun-drenched plains are perfect for its production and the vines are naturally resistant to drought and disease.

It produces perfumed, well-structured wines. It is often blended with other wines like Roupeiro and Arinto to ensure a natural and sharper acidity.

It originates vibrant, acidic wine with exotic aromas when grown at earlier time of the year.  Antao Vaz shows aromas of ripe tropical fruit and tangerine peel with discreet mineral notes after bottling as a varietal wine.

Antao Vaz is permitted and often used in the making of white port. It won’t be found in commercial quantities anywhere outside Portugal.

Food Pairings

Antao Vaz tastes even better with soft cheese, yellow squash and dishes with ingredients like peas, zucchini, asparagus, sunchokes, Seaton, white mushrooms, truffles, chanterelles and almonds.

It’s a perfect wine for exquisite Asian food and also pasta, salads with appetizers.

Caldo Verde is a Portuguese soup of onion and potato that is paired with Antao Vaz. Desserts like Doces de Yovo are also served with Antao Vaz.

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Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

Wine Writer

Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂

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