A Quick Guide to
Portugal's Wine Regions

Portugal Pinhao Countryside Douro River

A Short History of Portugal's Wine Regions

For centuries, Portugal has mainly been known for one wine in particular, but it’s actually home to over 200 indigenous grape varieties. The designation DOC—Denominação de Origem Controlada—remains the highest in Portugal. Today, there are 31 DOC regions in the country, each with strict guidelines to regulate local wine production. Even with a high number of regions for a small country, you'll find that many of the wines made here aren't available out of the country.

That makes Portugal an exciting destination for wine lovers, as it offers a rare opportunity to enjoy wines that aren’t widely distributed. Not to mention Portugal is also home to some of the most uniquely beautiful vineyards in the entire world.

Portugal’s wine really burst onto the international scene in the 17th and 18th centuries when a series of wars between Britain and France forced British merchants to acquire wine from Portugal. Winemaking was nothing new there, it had been practiced since the time of Greek and Celtic settlers.

Portugal Douro River

Our Top 2 Wine Regions in Portugal

The Douro Valley Wine Region in Portugal

Viticulture has been practiced here for over 2,000 years. The Douro River starts at Porto on the coast and weaves inland past picturesque hillsides and farms - centuries of winemaking have transformed the hills into steep, terraced vineyards. And you’ll still find charming chapels and villages dotting the landscape.

Portugal’s calling card, Port wine, emerged during a time of increased international trade. Winemakers added a bit of brandy to fortify wine for the longer voyage to Britain. The fortified wine came to be known as Port since the coastal city of Porto was the major shipping center.

Port’s prestige grew in 1757 when Marquês de Pombal, Portugal’s de facto ruler, made the Douro Valley—where Port was produced—the first designated wine region in the world. This protected the quality of the product and ensured that only Port from the Douro region could be classified as Port wine.

Porto & The History of Port Wine

The Lisboa Wine Region in Portugal

The Lisboa wine region in Portugal, formerly known as the Estremadura region, is known for its diverse range of wines, benefiting from its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the variety of microclimates and soils. The DOC Óbidos region is particularly famous for Arinto, a white grape variety native to Portugal, known for producing wines with high acidity, freshness, and vibrant flavors. It is one of the most important white grape varieties in Portugal and is grown in several wine regions, including the Lisboa region. The wines are known for their vibrant acidity, minerality, and fresh, zesty flavors. They often exhibit a good balance between fruitiness and acidity, with a clean and refreshing finish. Arinto wines typically have aromatic notes of citrus fruits (such as lemon and lime), green apple, and sometimes tropical fruits and floral hints.

Visit Portugal and try the wines of the Douro River Valley & Lisboa

The Douro River Valley's beauty and rich history have earned it a place on the UNESCO World Heritage list

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