DENOMINATION OF ORIGIN VINO VERDE


The Vinho Verde region is located in the Northwest of Portugal, limited by the river Minho to the north and the Douro to the south, the Atlantic coast to the west and mountainous ranges to the east. The most important city of the region is Braga. The area's mild climate is greatly influenced by the orographical characteristics and the already mentioned fluvial network. The most significant feature is the yearly rain levels - an average of 1500 mm - and its irregular distribution along the year, concentrated in winter and spring. Historically the area is considered as the cradle of Portugal. Densely populated, it was the origin of the migrant moves to the rest of the country as the Moors were pushed south. 

There are many references to vine growing, whose development started by the initiative of religious orders as well as by the positive contribution of the Portuguese Crown. Viticulture had not much importance until the XII-XIII centuries, when wine consumption started to be part of the habits of the Entre-Minho-e-Douro population. The demographic and economic expansion itself, the enhancement of agricultural trade and the development of metal currency, turned wine into an important and essential source of revenue. Although its export was rather limited, history reveals, however, that it should have been the Vinho Verde wines the first Portuguese wines to be appreciated in European markets (England, Holland and Germany), specially those of Monção and Ribeira de Lima sub-regions. The quality guidance and the Vinho Verde wine production and trade regulations appeared in the beginning of the XX century, when the Law passed in 1908, demarcated the "Vinho Verde Region" for the first time. But it wasn't until 1926 with the creation of the Comissão de Viticultura da Região dos Vinhos Verdes, that the geographical limits of the area were set. Cultural issues, wine types, the grape varieties and vine's guiding systems forced the division of the Region in six sub-regions: Monção, Lima, Basto, Braga, Amarante and Penafiel. 


Most of the region lays on a granitic structure, with the exception of two narrow strips that cross it from NW-SE, one of silurian with carboniferous and gravestone structures and another one of archaic schist. The strong distinctive character and originality of these wines are the result of soil and climate characteristics and social-economic agents, on one hand, and of the grape varieties and the vine-growing methods (specially the peculiar pergolas trellis systems), on the other. The region produces mainly white wines of characteristic lemony or straw colour, fruity and fresh broadly named Vinhos Verdes or green wines, a reference to the early stages the grapes are picked. The most sought after vinhos derive from the albarinho grape (albariño across the border in Spain). Other whites include Galician-Portuguese varieties such as loureiro, treixadura or locals arinto and avesso. The reds, of less importance, (from vinhão, espadeiro) are full-bodied wines with an intense colour and a rosy or light red foam.