Origins of the Douro
Douro Region and Douro Valley
Alto Douro Wine Region
Nature and the Douro
What to visit in Douro
Origins of the Douro (see video)
The antiquity of the Douro Valley
The Douro Valley has a variety of traces from the civilizations that have occupied this territory, since prehistoric times.
Since the Roman period the vine is cultivated. The landscape of vineyards shows ways of vine growth which come from different historical eras.
At the basis of all there is a desert landscape of rugged cliffs, taken over by shale and granite and covered by bushes and shrubs, typical of a climate in between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, that becomes drier as we move inland.
The evolution of Douro wines
Over three centuries, terrain enhancement and technical improvements were created, these allowed the cultivation of vineyards in adverse conditions on steep and rocky slopes, by building terraces, supported by extensive schist walls which helped preventing erosion .
The landscape was unmistakably molded, to transform it into thousands of miles of vineyards.
The immense parallel plantings , either in terraced levels and horizontally, or in vertical vineyards, or now more often alternating between the two modalities, form majestic geometric tapestries.
Its stratification in stairwells, tearing mountains, matches with the quiet smoothness of a river turned into a succession of lakes by the building of dams.
Douro Region and Douro Valley
Tourism in Douro: a unique river and a unique wine.
The Douro river is about men who turned mountains into shale walls and farming land, a collective effort of many cultures: an epic work.
For this and more, the Douro is an ideal region for leisure, for the pure enjoyment of the most refined worldly pleasures. Nowadays, tours and cruises on the Douro are activities elected by increasingly more tourists, who travel to Northern Portugal coming from the most distant countries.
Douro - first wine region in the world
Sheltered from the humid Atlantic winds by the mountains of Marão and Montemuro,the Douro region was first defined and regulated in 1756,this was the first legislation in the wine world.
It is located in Northeastern Portugal between Barqueiros and Mazouco, on the Spanish border. The birthplace of exceptional wines.
The Douro region extends for 250 000 ha today, but the vine only occupies 40 000 ha in deep basins and it comprehends Douro and its tributaries; Corgo, Torto, Pinhão, Tua, Coa, among others. The Douro is divided into three sub-regions, Lower Corgo to the west, Upper Corgo in the center and Alto Douro in the east , each one of these with varied climatic expressions, but always presenting cold winters and hot dry summers.
Harvest in Douro
The combination of these factors, coupled with the nobility of the varieties used, determines the quality and genuineness of Douro wines, which are nothing more than the expression of the harmonious marriage between land, climate, love and the art of man.
But the Douro isn?t just vineyards, wine, almonds and olive oil, it is the people and the winemakers who have made History and stories. The Douro farms, welcoming and bucolic, still away from everything.
Alto Douro Wine Region (see video)
In December 14th, 2001, UNESCO designates the Alto Douro Wine Region (45 ° 68 'N, 5 ° 93' W) World Heritage of Humanity in the category of cultural landscape, this statute was the culmination of an application process outlined by the King D. Afonso Henriques Foundation.
Alto Douro Wine Region became the 13th district of the country and the 5th ranked member of the wine producers group, joining the regions of Val de Loire and Saint-Emilion (France), Cinque Terre (Italy) and Wachau (Austria).
Alto Douros area has 24 600 hectares, spread over 13 municipal regions: Mesão Frio, Peso da Régua, Santa Marta de Penaguião, Vila Real, Alijó, Sabrosa, Carrazeda de Ansiães, Torre de Moncorvo, Lamego, Armamar, Tabuaço, S. João da Pesqueira and Vila Nova de Foz Coa, these regions are ten percent of the Demarcated Douro Region.
It is a tribute to the jointed work of Man and Nature, which is to illustrate the universal value of the active role played by a unique landscape and a culture of excellence.
Notwithstanding the magic the landscape extols, it?s the land that fathers the famous and so appreciated Port Wine.
However it was the beauty of the scenery made of uphill terraces and vineyards, the added value that led UNESCO to approve its entry into the elite of World Heritage
Enjoy the Douro Wines
Nature and the Douro
The Douro Heritage
The Douro is located in northern Portugal, protected from the wet winds from the Atlantic Ocean by the Marão and Montemuro ranges, surrounded to the North by Trás-os-Montes, to the west by Minho and Douro Litoral and to the east by the Spanish Regions of Castile and León.
The Douro region extends for 250 000 ha today, but the vine only occupies 40 000 ha in deep basins and it comprehends Douro and its tributaries: Tâmega, Corgo, Torto, Pinhão, Tua, Coa, among others. Each one of these with varied climatic expressions, but always presenting cold winters and hot dry summers.
Douros Natural Scenery
This natural area attached along Douro and Águeda riversides, stretches for over 120 km in length, covering 4 municipal regions: Miranda do Douro, Mogadouro, Freixo de Espada à Cinta and Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo.
The importance of wildlife in this natural area, which includes Arribes del Duero National Park, is unquestionable, especially regarding to large birds of prey and the black stork.
The steep slopes of this area provide the necessary tranquility to accommodate the numerous birds that breed here, as the Griffon, the Egyptian vulture, symbol of Douro?s International Natural Park, the Royal eagle, the Bonelli's eagle and the black stork.
Fauna and flora of the Douro
Important populations of mammals can also be found in this park: the wolf, roe deer, wild boar, otter, fox, and others.
Forests of multiple mediterranean oak varieties (Quercus rotundifolia, Quercus suber and Quercus pyrenaica) and junipers (Juniperus oxycedrus) are the most representative.
Bushy communities of rockroses, gorse, lavender and heather, along with the hydrophilic forest of willows and alders, contribute to the balance of this area.
What to visit in Douro
Douro - Heritage
Characterized by its extraordinary natural beauty, its protected areas, or even by the monumentality of its heritage, the Douro region also attracts for its famous wines:
Port, the Douro wine white and red, sparkling wine and brandys added to traditional gastronomy , to the hospitality and to the traditions that define the spirit of its people.
Regional cuisine and wines in the land of good food.
From the top of the mountains, comes the goat, rabbit, partridge and hare, turning this region into a meeting point for those who dedicate themselves to hunting. From the rivers and streams arrives at the table the brook trout.
Land of good food and good drink, the region offers excellent suggestions to those who arrive: ham, smoked meat bread , chestnut soup, sausage soup, trout with ham, partridge in a pot, roast pork with chestnuts, cod bread, ham bread or smoked pork.
The desserts are also original and varied, the sponge cake, the oven squash, the celestiais, rosquilhas and love cookies ( made of eggs and sugar ), among many others.
Speaking about Douro as a destination is speaking about the river itself, its terraced vineyards, the farms where famous Port wine is produced and the secular pilgrimages that take place throughout the region.
Douro Estates and Manors
The landscape is enormously attractive. From the riversides to the mountainous surroundings, from the beauty of the wild broom to the domesticated vine terraces, to the almond trees and flowering cherry trees; this unique landscape in myriad shades and colors gets unfolded, depending on the site and season.
Everywhere the manors and the estates, the testimonies of wandering people from diverse cultures, indelibly mark the landscape. As an example the Coa Valley, which contains in itself the largest and most beautiful park of pre-historic rock art in the world, also considered world heritage site by UNESCO.
The medieval heritage is also intense and deep. Castles like Numão, Marialva and Freixo de Espada à Cinta recall at every moment, the strategic importance that the Douro region has always had throughout history.
The land of Port wine
Pinhão is considered geographically, the center of the Douro Valley, where many of the wine farms of Port and Douro are established. The valley is spectacular and beautiful, with the hills descending steeply to the river, and the more inland you go, the more silent and quieter it gets, in places where human presence shows itself only in the presence of the terraces of vines arranged along the edges and some olive trees.
This is the land of Port Wine, the first demarcated wine region in the world, established in 1756.
Come and discover it