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Portugal as a Wine Region

Portuguese Wines are on their Way to Top the List

Are you thinking Champagne, Burgundy, or Bordeaux as the world’s greatest wine regions? I would suggest you read this post before coming to a decision.

I would say some of you will rethink after reading about the Portuguese wines.

You know what? The wines from the Douro Valley of Portugal have got three of the first four ranks in the Wine Spectator’s 2014 top 100 ranking.

Not only this, several wine lovers from across the world are calling Portugal as the most beautiful wine region on the planet.

Wine grape varieties

So, aren’t you excited to know about Portugal as a wine region? Well, continue reading to know about it…

Past and Present of Portugal’s Viticulture

The history of winemaking in Portugal can be dated back to more than 4000 years ago to the time of ancient Phoenicians.

After them, Romans worked much towards the expansion and promotion of viticulture in their settlement regions of Portugal.

During these times, wines were produced all over the country for local consumption and for export purposes. However, the world is discovering the wines from this region only after the revolutionary change that took place three decades ago.

This wine revolution that took place in the country has updated the winemaking technologies, as well as the styles and attitudes of wines that are produced.

As you may see, traditionally, the country was famous for its fortified wines and tart light wines. But today, the country is gaining popularity for its new range of table wines that are richer and riper. In specific, the country is becoming famous for its red wines from the Douro Valley.

Appellation System for Portuguese Wines

It has been found that the appellation system for Douro region of Portugal has been created about 200 years before that of France for the purpose of preserving the high-quality wines from the low-quality ones.

The current appellation system in the country has classified the wines as follows:

  • Vinho de Qualidade Produzido em Região Demarcada labeled as ‘D.O.C’
  • Indicação de Proveniência Regulamentada (IPR)
  • Vinho Regional
  • Vinho de Mesa

Of these, the D.O.C wines are securing the superior quality followed by the IPR wines. The term Vinho Regional represents the regional wines while the term Vinho de Mesa is representing the table wines.

Wine Styles of Portugal

Portugal is producing almost all wine styles like:

White wines

  • Light-bodied whites
  • Full-bodied whites
  • Rosé wines

Red wines:

  • Light-bodied reds
  • Full-bodied reds
  • Robust reds
  • Elegant reds

Sparkling wines
Port wines

  • Tawny
  • Ruby
  • White
  • Madeira
  • Moscatel
  • Pico and Biscoitos

Major Wine Regions of Portugal

The major wine regions of Portugal are as follows:

  • Vinho Verde
  • Trás-os-Montes
  • Porto and Douro
  • Távora-Varosa
  • Bairrada
  • Dão and Lafões
  • Beira Interior
  • Lisboa
  • Tejo
  • Península de Setúbal
  • Alentejo
  • Algarve
  • Azores
  • Madeira

Each of these major wine regions is found to have its own sub-regions producing wines of various styles and attitudes.

Alcohol and Distilleries

Grape Varieties in Portugal

We could observe a heroic determination among the Portuguese winemakers when it comes to wine grapes.

They have preserved a heritage of over 250 native grape varieties with most of them seen only in Portugal.

The major white and red grape varieties that are used in Portuguese wines are:

Major Whites

  • Alvarinho
  • Antão Vaz
  • Arinto
  • Bical
  • Encruzado
  • Fernão Pires
  • Fonte Cal
  • Gouveio
  • Loureiro
  • Malvasia Fina
  • Moscatel Graúdo
  • Rabigato
  • Síria
  • Trajadura
  • Verdelho
  • Viosinho

Major Reds

  • Alfrocheiro
  • Aragonez
  • Baga
  • Castelão
  • Jaen
  • Moreto
  • Moscatel Galego Roxo
  • Ramisco
  • Rufete
  • Tinta Barroca
  • Tinta Caiada
  • Tinta Negra
  • Tinto Cão
  • Touriga Franca
  • Touriga Nacional
  • Trincadeira
  • Vinhão

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Tharani Rajamanickam

Tharani Rajamanickam


I am Tharani, I have Bachelors degree in Biotechnology. I am passionate about the wine industry and continue to explore, learn and share and I bring in a wealth of knowledge and expertise to help you keep updated with best wines in the world. Stay tuned..

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