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When it comes to Portuguese wines, the first thing that comes to mind is their most famous Port Wine- a fortified dessert wine blended with numerous native varieties through a unique vinification process.

The world began to pay attention to Portuguese wines, when 578 Portuguese wines were awarded at the influential Decanter World Wine Awards and 643 medals won at the 33rd International Wine Challenge.


Portugal remains an uncharted territory filled with countless varieties which are mostly native and less known to the world. The wide array of the indigenous varieties are significantly produced by the microclimate being different from regions to regions, and many of the pre-historic vines which has endured centuries of climate changes are contributed to wine differentiation in Portugal.

Portuguese traditions were mainly introduced by ancient civilizations of which were mostly Romans and the rest coming from Greeks, Carthaginians and Phoenicians. Since the Roman Empire in the 5th century B.C., negociants and merchants only exported wines to Rome, and later on, they started to ship to England in the 1700s. Portugal isolated from these trades.

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Natural terrace in Douro Valley

Planting only a few imported varieties that well-adapted with the Portuguese landscape, the local people  planted a great diversity of over 250 regional varieties with distinctive characteristics. Two wine-growing regions are now under protection of UNESCO as World Heritage: Douro Valley and Pico Island.

The regional commission CVR classified Portuguese wines into 3 categories to monitor the quality, each region’s individual attributes, and regulating irrigating permits due to limited water supply in Portugal.


Portuguese official wine levels as stated below:

1) DOC (Denominação de Origem Controlada)/ DOP implies wines coming from defined geographical region with quality-controlled and recommended grapes. Strict guidelines must be followed including maximum grape yields, recommended and permitted grape varieties and all the wines have to be officially tasted, tested and approved.

2) Vinho Regional/ IGP has less stringent rules applied on vineyards, which allows winegrowers to craft for more innovative and intriguing blends.

3) Vinho/ Wine refers to the Portuguese basic table wines of which are rarely seen outside of Portugal.

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Portuguese Wine Classification

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