Wine in Portugal has long been a leading industry, and while Port wine is the
most famous of the Portuguese wines, other varieties are making a name for themselves.
Portuguese wine has benefited from centuries of wine making traditions, which
past civilizations like the Phoenicians, the Greeks, and more importantly, the
Romans helped to cultivate. When the Roman Empire was at its height, Portugal
was already exporting its wines, and it hasn't stopped since. In fact, you might
be interested to know that wine from Portugal was used to toast the Declaration
of Independence in the United States. Port wine is still the king of wine in
Portugal, but it's not the only wine that you'll want to try during your visit.
Many Portugal wineries are creating some very good reds, and while white wines
aren't as renowned here, they are coming along. Don't forget to try some vinho
verde on your Portugal vacation if you are a wine enthusiast. This light, white
wine, which is carbonated, comes from the north, and it is definitely unique.
Of all the wine regions in Portugal, the Douro is perhaps the best known. This is where the country's best Port wines come from. You can find the Douro wine region around the Douro River, in the northern part of the country. It is essentially due west of the city of Porto. The year 1675 was when the first mention of Port wine was made, and it wouldn't take long for the English speaking world to take notice. The British were very fond of Port wine early on, and it became one of the country's top exports. It's still a top export to this day, and you'll likely have no trouble finding some in your neck of the woods. Table wines have also been produced in the Douro region, and many are full bodied for those who like a lot of taste. In 2001 the Douro winemaking region was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is testament to its place in history.
The Douro region isn't the only place that you'll want to visit if you're interested in Portuguese wine. North of Porto is where the bulk of the country's vinho verde is produced. Vinho verde translates to "green wine," though it isn't really green. In fact, it's not exclusively white either. There are vinho verde reds, which are fizzy as well and tend to be favored by locals. The white vinho verde varietals tend to be very dry and high in acidity. Heading south of the Douro and the Vinhos Verdes region, those who are interested in trying some wine in Portugal can visit the Bairrada and Dao regions. Full-bodied reds and crisp whites are produced by the Portugal wineries in these regions. Heading further south towards Lisbon and Sintra, the Estremadura and Ribatejo wine regions await those who are looking to sample the local product. As a side note, wine tours are easy to arrange in Lisbon, not to mention Porto, which is good news for wine enthusiasts who are spending time in the country's two main cities.
You don't have to stick to the mainland if you're interested in trying some
excellent Portuguese wine. Madeira
Island, which can be found hundreds of miles offshore, has long been known
for its excellent wines. Much like the Douro region, Madeira Island received
a lot of praise from British and American luminaries in centuries past. Madeira
wine was the wine that was used to toast the Declaration of Independence, and
loyal fans of it included George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin
Franklin. The rich volcanic soil on Madeira Island has a lot to do with the
unique qualities of the wine. Today, the Portuguese wine that is produced on
Madeira Island is less heavy than it used to be, though it still manages to
impress with its bold flavors.
Portugal boasts an impressive variety of grapes, which is part of the reason why wine enthusiasts the world wide are hailing it as an ideal destination for them. There are hundreds of Portugal wineries that are churning out flavorful varietals year in and year out, and the country on the whole is pushing its coveted viticulture industry. ViniPortugal, which is an organization that specializes in the trade of wine in Portugal and abroad, creates excellent maps for those who are interested in exploring some of the country's best wine routes.
The Portugal wineries are called adegas, and while some welcome visitors, others don't, so it's good to have a helpful map if you haven't booked a Portuguese wine tour. Several of the Portugal wineries offer accommodations, not to mention attached restaurants, which helps to make Portugal wine tours so ideal. It won't be hard to build an itinerary if you want to visit some good Portugal wineries. Just remember to save some time for the country's castles, beaches, and other great attractions.