Grapes have been continuously planted in Portugal since the ancient times and the Romans used the Douro River’s banks to make wine.

Many years later, in 1368, England and Portugal signed a treaty in which trading relationships were established between the two. Due to it, a great share of the Portuguese wine was exported to England in exchange for codfish.

In 1654, special privileges were given to the English and Scottish merchants who happened to live in Portugal. Wool and cotton fabrics were exchanged for cereals, fruits, olive oil and “red Portugal” (expression applied to the wine back then). Around that time, the trading kernel was located in Viana do Castelo.

The interest from the English spiked and the merchants started to look for places in which their most flattered kind of wine was produced. They found on the slopes of Douro River, where a certain kind of wine, more robust and full-bodied, was produced.

Having access to the region comprised between Douro and Viana do Castelo was a burdensome task, thus the wine began to be taken by boat to the city of Porto, using the well-known Rabelo boats. Around 50 barrels could be carried in a single boat. From Porto, a seaside city, the wine followed its course towards England.

Although the wine was produced in an interior region, it adopted the name of Porto, city from which it was exported.

The registration of the first Port wine is from 1678.

Marquês of Pombal created the Companhia Geral da Agricultura das Vinhas do Alto Douro (General Company for the Agriculture of the Upper Douro Vineyards) and established the outlines of the geographic area of wine production. These measures launched a growth process of Port wine.

Currently the producing companies of Port wine own several farms in the Douro region. I recommend you to visit a farm in order to be able to experience all this history, whilst tasting a good wine and enjoy a wonderful landscape (among other activities…). In Porto, you can visit one of the cellars of Port wine, such as the ones of Ramos Pinto, Sandeman or Ferreira and find out more about his famous wine. And taste is as well!

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