wine history

The time and location where man drank the first sip of wine still an uncertainty. The old civilizations elected gods of wine and donors, Greece Dionysus, Osiris in Egypt and Bacchus in Rome. Other share the view that wine was born in the East.

Bacchus - roman god of wine

The origin of the vine is dated to the last period of the Tertiary, before the appearance of man. Viticulture initially developed in the plains of Sumer and the banks of the Nile. However, it was through the Phoenicians and Greeks that the wine has reached Europe. With the Roman occupation, the culture of wine has become established in central Europe. Thus, the Italian vineyards are of Greek origin, the French are of Roman origin and the Spanish of Phoenician origin.

Vitis vinifera - latin for vines

With regard to Portugal, no one knows exactly when wine emerged, it is thought that the first vines planted in Portugal were planted by the Phoenicians. This country soil and climate, as well as the different varieties of each region allowed a long-time production of high quality wines and typicality. For this reason, Portugal was among the first countries, if not the first country estate, to establish and regulate a specified region, Douro, by royal charter in 1756.

Later, by letter of law in 1907/1908, started the process of demarcation and regulation of the regions of Vinho Verde, Dão, Colares, Carcavelos, Bucelas, Madeira and Moscatel, (all Portuguese wine regions) apart from the Douro region which currently covers both Port and Douro wines. Later on, and only in 1979, was recognized the region Bairrada.

Douro - Region recognized since 1756

In 1980 the region Algarve was recognized (later regulated - 1990 - and replaced by other four - Lagoa, Lagos, Portimão and Tavira), having proceeded then to its demarcation. Alentejo had its first regions recognized in 1986 - Redondo Borba, Reguengos, Portalegre and Vidigueira - in 1991 another three were recognized, Évora, Mora and Granja-Amareleja. Also in 1986 were recognized as designations of origin corresponding to quality wines produced in growing areas of interest, the following regions: Chaves, Planalto, Castelo Rodrigo, Pinhel, Cova da Beira, Encostas do Nave, Varosa, Lafões, Alcobaça, Encostas de Aire, Óbidos, Arrábida, Palmela, Santarém, Cartaxo, Chamusca, Coruche, Santarém, Tomar, Alenquer, Arruda and Torres Vedras. In 1994 obtained denomination recognition Biscuits, Graciosa and Pico.

In Portugal, vineyards stretch across the entire land territory and the archipelagos, covering some 400 000 hectares producing an average per year of about 10 million hectolitres of wine, which puts us on the 6th place worldwide in the area and came in 7th place in quantity of wine produced.

Producers of fine and varied wines, the Portuguese are also great admirers and have had been the 'best' drinkers per capita. Therefore, it is not surprising that the culture behind the wine is particularly rich in Portugal. Both in art and literature, vineyard and wine - that earned Portugal the designation of 'Country of Grapes "- have inspired artists, poets and prose writers, classic and modern. But it is in gastronomy that Portuguese wine has more impact, given that their characteristics are adapted to the more dishes of every cuisine, even the most exotic. This adaptation, characterized by the diversity of Portuguese wine, is due to noble wine varieties, regional microclimates specific to each wine region and the traditional processes used.

One should not think however that the production of wine in Portugal is only handmade. Allied to this technique, which departs slightly from what was practiced by Noah, there is another, very technologically advanced, computer-operated and served by sophisticated equipment (already belongs to the year 2000). Between these two forms of production, there is a wide range of options, resulting in a large number of different wines, even when they are from the same region.

There is still, however, another important fact to consider: the great passion that farmers have always shown by the Portuguese wine industry. Their wines, classic or modern, for its quality and its spirit, are the pride of those who produce with knowledge and love.


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