Alto Douro In Portugal
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At the beginning of the 21st century Alto Douro, the historic wine region in Portugal, was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage. Reasonably, it is one of the most visited travel destinations in the country, where wine is an obvious object to taste and to explore. The area is located in the valley of the Douro River slightly north to Porto City, hence the name of the Alto Douro, which means "upper Douro." It produces a variety of wines from light to intense type of Bordeaux and Burgundy type of fortified wines. But the staple of Alto Douro is considered port, which became famous in the 18th century.

Thanks to ideal soil and climate conditions wine-making is a pillar of Alto Douro for about 2 thousand years. A great variety of wines and alcohol produced around is caused by the division of Alto Douro intro three subregions: Lower Corgo, with mild climate and abundant rain falls, the Upper Corgo, sown area that covers 19 thousand hectares, and the sub-region Douro Superior, very hot and dry, in the east it borders with Spain.

On September 10th 1756, the Portuguese king issued a decree on the definition of land for the production of port and thus Alto Douro became the world's first wine district with statutory limits. Vine terraces, allocated earlier in the western part of the modern Alto Douro, eventually expanded, moving from west to east. That is how these tree regions were limited and preserved their boundaries till nowadays. The history of Alto Douro also features several failing periods, called “grapes’ plague”; in 1852, the vineyards were struck by fungus powdery mildew (oidium), and in 1863 - the pest phylloxera. In the middle of the 20th century, the scientist Fernando Nicolau de Almeida started producing table wine, after a visit to a French Bordeaux, during the war.

In 1952 he released Barca Velha wine from vines grown in the sub-region Douro Superior. New wines were produced in the 1970s, and especially in the 1990s.

If go sightseeing around Alto Douro, it is better to start with Porto, a momentous city and the biggest wine producer in the area. The city itself is a set of finest architecture of the past, which also was added to UNESCO Heritage in Portugal, and of great museums that tell the long-standing story of wine-making, trade and royal contribution to the advancement of Porto. Tasting and visiting the oldest vineyards and wineries are possible on request.


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