What are Portugal’s best wine regions?

What are Portugal's best wine regions?

According to the Paris-based International Organisation of Vine and Wine, the Portuguese are the world’s number one consumers of wine, with the average citizen drinking around 72 bottles of wine per year! You could say it’s a passion of ours. The wine culture here in Portugal stretches back around 4,000 years, with its early history shaped by Phoenicians, Greeks, Celts, and Romans. But what does the world know of Portuguese wine today? For many, wine in Portugal is often overlooked in favour of Europe’s largest wine producers, France, Spain, and Italy. The most famous Portuguese wines are indisputably the sweet, fortified wines Madeira and Port. This is, though, far from being a full picture of wine in the country. In Portugal, we have over 200 native grape varieties and an array of other classic varieties imported for wine production — Portugal is home to a wine culture as diverse as its landscape.

Join us today at Honest Routes as we list the country’s stand-out wine regions. And, while you’re here, why not check out our full range of Unique Portugal Tours.

Douro Valley

Let’s begin with the obvious choice: the Douro Valley. Wine has been produced in this region for over two thousand years and has held UNESCO World Heritage status since 2001. Sheltered from coastal weather by mountains, the Douro Valley is centred around the Douro river and famous for the beautiful, stepped vineyards found across the area’s rolling hills. The star wine of this region is unquestionably Port, which has been made here since the 17th century. Port wine normally possesses a sweet, intense flavour profile typical of fortified wines. Take a tour at one of the many quintas (wineries) in the Douro Valley where you can try some exquisite Port, made exclusively in this region. However, in recent years the wineries of the Douro have increasingly begun showcasing the diversity of wines produced here, so those wine aficionados who aren’t enamoured with Port will still find much to love, such as fruity Douro Tintos, aromatic Touriga Nacional, or semi-dry White Ports.

Alentejo Region

The Alentejo region of Portugal encompasses around a third of the country’s landmass, yet the region is sparsely populated and often gets overlooked for more tourism-centred destinations. The coastline of Alentejo is surely among the most dramatic and beautiful in all of Europe, and the general old-world pace of life makes this a destination very much worthy of your consideration. The wine of the Alentejo region is mostly focused on warm, full-bodied red blends, though there has been a boom in the production of characterful white wines in recent years. Of the two hundred or so wineries in Alentejo, around 60 of them will open their doors to guests, so there are plenty of opportunities here for touring. If travelling in Alentejo, be sure not to miss the region’s historic city of Évora. We offer a Day Tour From Lisbon to Évora that combines local history and exploration of the major sights with a wine tasting, during which we’ll sample some wines from the area.


In contrast to the full-bodied reds of the Alentejo, Portugal’s northernmost wine region, Minho, is known primarily for its crisp, refreshing whites. The region is also the DOC defined area of production for Vinho Verde (“green wine”). Vinho Verde is so named due to the wines being very young and normally drank soon after bottling. The Minho region shares many characteristics with the nearby Spanish area of Rias Baixas, which is just over the border. The majors grapes used in Minho’s wine production include the natives Alvarinho, Avesso, Loureiro, Pederna (Arinto) and Trajadura. Chardonnay and Riesling are often the most favoured international varieties. The Minho region’s close proximity to Porto makes it an excellent choice for day tours.


Leaving land behind, we set sail for the island paradise of Madeira. Dramatic volcanic landscapes and pristine beaches abound on this beautiful island. Offering summer weather throughout the year, Madeira is a perfect destination for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life for a spell. The most famous wine from the island is undoubtedly Madeira wine itself, a fortified wine, sweet and rich in flavour. But there is plenty of variety to choose from when sampling Madeira wine. The wine is generally divided into four subcategories, each with its own distinctive flavours: Sercial (generally very dry with high acidity), Verdelho (smokey notes, acidity), Bual (dark in colour, dried fruit flavours), and Malvasia (caramel notes – sweet and dark). A perfect getaway for any oenophile: extraordinary natural landscapes and world-class tipples.


The last region on our list is the Dão region, one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the entire country. It was, though, one man, João de Sacadura Botte Côrte-Real, who pioneered superior winemaking in the Dão region, and led to the region’s vineyards getting DOC protected status. Located on a plateau, the region is sheltered on three sides by mountains, which makes the territory particularly fertile and excellent for cultivation. Around 80% of the region’s wine is red, with much of it made using native grape varieties, such as Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Jaen, Alfrocheiro Preto and Encruzado. There are countless possibilities for rewarding tasters across this beautiful stretch of Portugal.

This brings us to the end of our list of some of Portugal’s best wine regions. We hope we’ve inspired you to begin planning your next trip. If you have any questions or comments about this blog or our tours, please get in touch.

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