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Description to Douro

The Portuguese wine-growing region is named after the approximately 900 km long river, on whose very steep slopes with extreme gradients the vineyards are located. This river rises in the Spanish province of Soria in the Castilla y León region, flows through northern Spain under the name "Duero" and then through northern Portugal as "Douro" until it finally flows into the Atlantic Ocean at the city of Porto. The river forms the Portuguese-Spanish border for over 100 kilometres, after which the port wine region extends into Portugal for just as long. The Douro has cut a deep valley into the slate-granite mountains, on the slopes of which the vines for the port wine grow.

Oldest protected wine-growing region

As early as 1756, under Prime Minister Marquês de Pombal (1699-1782), Douro was first defined in its boundaries as one of the oldest protected wine regions and later classified as a DOC area to protect port wine. However, "Vinho do Porto" or "Porto" is not named after its Douro origin, but after the harbour city from which it is shipped. For over two centuries, this applied exclusively to port wine. It was not until 1979 that this was extended to non-sparkling wines. The success of the famous red wine "Barca Velha" from the Ferreira winery, but also the "Redomo" from Niepoort and the "Grande Escolha" from Quinta do Côtto have contributed to this.

Portwein - Karte und Weinberge

World cultural heritage

Like all bodies of water, the river has a very positive effect on viticulture, creating the ideal conditions by forming very steep, terraced valley slopes. It is actually a double appellation, with "Douro = normal wine" and "Porto e Douro = port wine". In 2001, the Douro port wine region (Alto Douro) was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Grape varieties & wines

Of the total area of 40,000 hectares, 33,000 hectares are classified for port wine (slate soils) and 7,000 hectares for normal wine (granite soils). However, depending on the quality of the vintage, around half is also processed as normal wines. The approximately 40 authorised grape varieties are practically the same as for port wine. The proportion of recommended varieties must be at least 60%. Wines from unauthorised varieties are marketed as regional wines (Vinho Regional) under the name Duriense. Many wineries produce both port wines and ordinary wines. See a list of well-known producers under the heading Port wine.

Douro - Symington

Map: By Rei-artur - Own work, CC BY 2.5, Link
Douro valley above: By Bruno Rodrigues, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Douro Valley below: Symington

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