DOC area in the west of the Portuguese region of Beiras near the Atlantic coast. It is an ancient wine-growing area, in the 14th and 15th centuries a third of the area was used for viticulture. At the beginning of the 18th century, the dark and tannin-rich red wines were very popular in England and were also issued as port wine (from the Douro area north of it) or blended with it. In 1756, when the limits for port wine were set, the then Portuguese Prime Minister Marquês de Pombal (1699-1782) ordered the uprooting of the Bairrada vineyards to protect port wine. In 1908, the government eliminated the area from the list of wine regions. It was not until 1979 that the area was again classified as Vinho Regional (country wines) and later as a DOC area. Luiz Costa, the owner of the Caves São João winery, who is a passionate advocate of high quality, was a great credit to the area and co-founded the Bairrada Wine Brotherhood (Academy for Bairrada Wine)
The vineyards cover about 15,000 hectares of vineyards, divided into many small estates. The name Bairrada is derived from the Portuguese term for the predominant clay or loam here, which is enriched with lime. Unusual for Portugal, the red baga is clearly the dominant grape variety, accounting for over 70% of the vineyard area. From this variety about 70% of the red wines are pressed, which must contain at least 50% of the variety. Other indigenous varieties are Borrado das Moscas(Bical), Castelão Francês, Maria Gomes(Fernão Pires), Rabo de Ovelha and Tinta Pinheira(Rufete). Many sparkling wines are also produced, although they do not have DOC status. The most important white wine varieties are Bical and Maria Gomes(Fernão Pires). Well known producers are Casa de Saima, Caves Allianca, Caves São João, Fonseca, Luis Pato, Quinta da Rigodeira and Sogrape. The latter owns a large winery in Anadia, where the main part of the famous rosé wine Mateus is produced.