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The Soul of Portugal, Wrought in Stone: Batalha

A wine with a past!

Portugal is one the oldest and newest producers of wine in the world. This European nation has produced wine since ancient times, but it has also undergone nothing short of a revolution in the last decade. Billions have been invested to make Portugal’s wine industry one of the most modern in the world.


The great cultures of the ancient world—the Greeks and Carthaginians—first brought grape and wine production to the land that would eventually become known as Portugal. When it was part of the Roman Empire, Lusitania--as the Romans called Portugal--produced wine that was very popular back in the capital city of Rome. Grape cultivation on this land continued for centuries and the grapes themselves evolved. By 1758, the first designated wine-producing region in the world was created in the Douro Valley. The Port wines produced there ultimately became legendary.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Culture Organization (UNESCO) has designated the Douro Valley and the Pico Island Wine Region, in Portugal’s Azores Islands, as World Heritage sites, worthy of eternal conservation.  

In 2006, the 250th anniversary of the demarcated Douro Valley region—the first in the world--was commemorated, a significant event since Port wine represented nearly 20 percent of all Portuguese wine exports for the past couple of centuries. 

Madeira is the other best-known wine from Portugal, produced in the tropical climate of one of Portugal’s two island regions. Madeira wine was widely used by the original colonists of the United States, including President George Washington, who used it for their most ceremonial events.


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