On the blogby Alfred
November 14 2019

The Vinho Verde region of Portugal

by Pasquale Charland

We all know the famous Port wine, but Portugal produces other excellent wines, both red and white. Vinho Verde is one of these other lesser known regions, however. Its name comes from the green color that distinguishes it in its landscape with its mountains, valleys, rivers and vineyards as far as the eye can see. Bordered to the north by the Minho River to the south by the Douro, to the east by the Peneda-Gerês National Park and to the west by the Atlantic,  the region finds itself in the middle of a most enviable environment.

This region is located in the northernmost part of Portugal and it benefits from a climate that is considered less favorable to the production of red wine, which is why we producers stay away from those types of products, as they would not be up to their standards… On the other hand, a large number of white wines are produced and very good ones on top of that. A few red wines, nevertheless, crown the overall production.

Vinho Verde, which means “green wine” or made from green grapes, is therefore known for its white wine production. The weather conditions, the very variable climate, the strong presence of humidity, coming from the regular fog and rain all year round, are the elements that make the green grape predominate, as reds tend to be more demanding in terms of consistency. The same applies to organic wine; it is more difficult to produce organic products with this high presence of constant humidity. Controlling the diseases caused by this type of climate is too important and too risky, which explains why many producers prefer not to engage in organic wines.

22 centuries of history. The oldest reference dates back to 51-96 BC. Vinho Verde wines are also identified as the first to have been exported to Europe, notably in England, Holland and Germany. And, since 1908, this region has been considered the flagship region of Portugal. It is 7000 square kilometers of vineyards, 129 000 plots, 18 000 vines and 2000 brands of wine.

The vine is cultivated in two ways, the traditional one, vines in the fields or in Pergola; the vine is attached to a metal structure that rises to form a green roof, a particularity of this region which gives it an undeniable charm.

The Vinho Verde Region Winegrowing Commission (CVRVV), founded in 1926, manages production, standards and marketing. It has its headquarters in Porto. This recognized organization is important because it certifies, promotes, defends rights and standards, controls and guarantees the authenticity of the quality of its products.  It was a real pleasure to discover this magnificent region, its warm people, its delicious wine, its majestic landscapes, a superb weather for the period. I would like to thank especially the Vinho Verde Region Winegrowing Commission for their invitation, their welcome, the visits, the discoveries I made in their company and which marked my memories for life. What a wonderful journey it was!

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