Wine-making dates back to antiquity in Portugal ...
Portugal: An ancient tradition of winemaking...
The history of wine and vine in Portugal dates back to the 7th century BC when the Greeks planted the first vines in the Iberian Peninsula. It was the Romans who then structured the vineyards.
During the period of domination of the Moors during 400 years (700 to 1100), the cultivation of vineyards was neglected. During the reconquest of the territory up to and including Middle Ages, various kings took great care to develop protected areas for cultivation. Periods of expansion were also supported by powerful families, and numerous religious orders, which cultivated grapes within their monasteries and produced their own wines.
The first informal exports took place towards 1380, with England. Initially wine from the Minho region, the cradle of the Vinho Verde, was exported, then followed by the zone of the Douro.
In 1756, the Marquis de Pombal created the first delimited wine region in the world, the Douro region, where the vines that will eventually give birth to Port wine, were cultivated. Another sad page in the history of Portugese wine is turned in 1862: the country is struck by filoxera which kills off a good part of the vines, in a plague that lasts until 1895.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the filoxera is brought under control and new delimited wine regions are created, such as the Dão, Colares, Carcavelos, Moscatel de Sébutal.
Portugal is a country that prides itself on indigenous grape varieties, including the 'big names' of the national grapes: Touriga Francesa, Arinto, Sercial, Castelão, Periquita and Trincadeira. The diversity that these varieties encompass is enormous and grapes, both in white and red wine, placing Portugal on a pedestal in terms of original and recognised wine production.