Portugal has produced wine since Roman times. There are over 250 different indigenous grapes grown on the continent. It is second only to Italy in its number of native grapes. 14 different wine-growing regions throughout the country together cover the entire country. Twelve are on the Iberian peninsula, with the last two being the islands of Madeira and the Azores.
Portugal is one of the few countries left in the world that still presses grapes by foot-stomping. This method is especially common in the Douro region in the north, where the grapes for Port wine production must come from.
For a country as small as Portugal, the diversity of grapes, micro climates, and soils is impressive. The types of soils include everything from granite, schist, and limestone in the north to sand and clay further to the south.
It also produces many types of wines that are unique to the country. These include Vinho Verde, Port wine, and Madeira, for which it is most famous. There is also Moscatel de Setubal and an array of sparkling wines as well.
Here are the 14 regions and the types of wines they produce.
Vinho Verde is in the northwest corner of the country and produces wines of the same name. In this case, green refers to wine that is young and meant to be consumed soon after bottling. It also refers to the DOC of the region which is part of the province of Minho. It is known as a light, simple, and refreshing white wine that usually has a little spritz to it.
Most Vinho Verdes are a blend of white or red grapes but, the area is also well known for its outstanding single varietal Alvarinhos. Most of the wine produced is white with some rose, but a small amount of red wine (about 7 percent) also comes from the region. The most common grapes are, Alvarinho, Loureiro, Trajadura, Arinto, Avesso, and Azal, for whites and Vinhao, Amaral, and Azal Tinto, for reds. Stay tuned, more to follow!