It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact origin of Portuguese wine, but the rumour on the grapevine is that it dates back to approximately 2000 BC and primarily took place on the south coast.

 

 

Over the years, viniculture in Portugal has been influenced by a number of settlers, with the Phoenicians of 1000 BC bringing with them Middle-Eastern techniques, and the Ancient Greeks of 700 BC introducing further advances. Like many other European countries, Portugal found its wine production and trade significantly increased with the arrival of the Romans.

But surprisingly, the English also had a large role to play in the development of Portugal’s wine industry. The uncooperative climate of the UK meant that importing wine took precedence over producing, and political instability with France meant that the country relied on trade with other European countries such as Portugal.

So significant was the relationship between the two countries that it’s thought that English merchants influenced the development of Portugal’s most famous drink, Port, in the 1670s, after visiting an abbot who was pioneering the new methods of fortification.

Today, the British fascination with Portuguese wine is still going strong, with value sales up by 45.8% in 2017. The Douro wine region has established itself as an icon on the international stage, while the lesser-known Vinho Verde has become the local drink of choice, both because of affordability and because it can only be made with grapes unique to Portugal’s vineyards.

With so many varietals to be explored, whether you’re looking for depth and flavour or drinkability, Portuguese wines are well worth raising a glass to. Saude!