First news of vines in Portugal are from the Phoenician, Carthaginian, Greek and mostly Roman civilisation, where wine was not only consumed locally but exported to Rome.
The current importance of wines in the country is shown by the high number of PDO in a relatively small area (approximately 92.000 km2) as listed below.
In Portugal wines are classified in four categories:
Quality wines produced in specified regions
- Beira Interior
- Encostas d’Aire
- Torres Vedras
- Vinho Verde
Quality wines produced in specified regions which are candidates to DOC
- PicVinho Regional
Table wines with a geographical indication
- Península de Setúbal
- Terras Madeirenses
- Vinho de Mesa
The most popular wines from Portugal are Porto, Vinho Verde and Alentejo.
Alentejo is a vast plane region placed in the southern part of Portugal with the influence of the mountains of Serra de São Mamede in the subregion of Portalegre. Other regions are Borbe, Redondo, Evora, Reguengos, Granja-Amareleja, Vidigueira and Moura.
The predominant white grape is Antão Vaz which offers good acidity and tropical fruit flavours. Other ones are: Roupeiro, Arinto, Diagalves, Manteúdo, Perrum and Rabo de Ovelha. In case of red grapes, the most planted is Aragonez although Alicante Bouschet, Alfrocheiro, Castelão, Trincadeira, Moreto, Tinta Caiada and Tinta Grossa.
White Alentejo’s wines are light, slightly acidic and with hints of tropical fruit aromas. On the other side, red wines are full-bodied, rich in tannins and scented berries
Cooperativa Agricola de GRANJA is placed in the region around the town of Morão (Alentejo region), adjacent to Spain. The conditions to grow vines are more challenging due to the harsh climate (hotter than in other regions) and a poor limestone-based soil. However, wines have an excellent quality. Red wines are full bodied, spicy and with a high content of alcohol. Moreto is the predominant grape variety. GRANJA produces six commercial brands, two are PDO, three are Regional Wines and one is Table Wine.
This type of wine is produced in the Noth-West of Portugal, in the border region with Spain. The orography is irregular and dominated by a valley and the river basins associated.
The soil is basically granite and poor but humans have created terraces to overcome this situation.
The Vinho Verde is a young, fresh and slightly sparkly wine which is recommended to consume during the first year of bottling. It is also characterised by its high acidity and low alcohol content.
Grape varieties used in white wine are: Loureiro, Arinto, Trajadura, Avesso, Azal and Alvarinho. For red ones Vinhão, Barraçal and Amaral are used. Espadeiro and Padeiro are the ones for rosé wine.
This wine is produced in the Douro Valley which belongs to one of the most mountainous wine regions in the country traversed by Douro River, from Spain until Serra do Morão. That makes vines to be grown in the slopes of the river. In fact, these vine terraces have been awarded (and protected) by UNESCO as World Heritage Site.
The soil is basically made up of schists and granite.
Port is a fortified wine that means that distilled grape spirits (called aguardiente) is added to stop fermentation and boost the alcohol content. There are dry, semi-dry and white varieties, being the sweet red one the most popular often served accompanying desserts.
The grapes used to produce Porto are: Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão.