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Douro Wine Region

The King of Portuguese Wines!

Douro, which takes its name from the River Douro, is the most important wine region of Portugal.

I would say, Douro is the king of Portugal wines due to various reasons.

Firstly, this region is having the highest wine classification as the D.O.C.

Secondly; several people from across the globe are arguing that Douro is the world’s most beautiful wine-growing area.

Thirdly, three of first four wines in the Wine Spectator’s 2014 top 100 ranking which includes the Number 1 spot are from this region.

Wine grape varieties

Now, some wine critics have started to call this as the world’s greatest wine region as well. What other reasons do we need to call Douro as the king of Portugal wines?

Now, let’s have a look at the viticulture and viniculture in the Portugal’s most important wine region here…

Looking at the Geography and Climate of Douro

I would say Douro is one of the rugged wine regions in the world which is found to be wilder and mountainous.

The whole region is cut through by the River Douro and hence, we can find deep twists and turns all along the region.

We can find several man-made contours here and the beauty of the region is enhanced by the steep, stone-walled vine terraces which have been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Here, the vines are found to be planted in poor schistous soils. When it comes to climate, the region is protected from the strong influences of the Atlantic Ocean by the mountains of Marão and Montemuro.

Therefore, the region is experiencing a Mediterranean type of climate with hot dry summers and cold winters.

Sub-Regions of Douro

The Douro region is further divided into three regions from west to east as:

  • Baixo Corgo: This is the most westerly sub-region and is found to be more suitable for the table wine production. This sub-region is cooler, as well as wetter than the others and is generally considered to produce wines of lower quality than the other sub-regions. In total, this sub-region has 14,000 hectares under vine cultivation.
  • Cima Corgo: This is the largest sub-region of Douro and has almost 19,000 hectares of land under vine cultivation. This region is accounting for almost half of the total wine production in the Douro. This is considered to be the heart of ‘Port wine’ production although several of fine fortified wines are produced here today.
  • Douro Superior: This is the hottest, as well as driest sub-region in the Douro and is found to be producing several good-quality wines. This is the most recently planted region and is found to have about 8,700 hectares of land under vine cultivation.

Wines of Douro

For centuries, the Douro region is producing some world-class dessert wines in the form of port wines.

However, for the past few decades, the dry wines are also developing slowly in this region.

The dry wines from the Douro are of red, rosé, or white wine styles and are produced using a wide variety of grapes.

In general, the red wines of Douro are found to be robust and full-bodied and are subjected to aging in oak barrels.

The grape varieties that are used for the port wine production are also used in the dry red wine production too.

Grape Varieties in Douro

It’s to be noted that the port wines, as well as DOC wines of the Douro, are made only from the native grapes. As such, the major native grape varieties used in the production of Douro wines are:

Major Native Reds:

  • Touriga Nacional
  • Tinta Barroca
  • Tinto Cão
  • Tinta Roriz
  • Touriga Franca

Major Native Whites:

  • Malvasia Fina
  • Rabigato
  • Viosinho

Other plantations include:

  • Sousão
  • Tinta Amarela
  • Gouveio
  • Moscatel

International Varieties:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Gewürztraminer

Alcohol and Distilleries

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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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