If you’re coming to the next EURA 2015 Conference in April, this year hosted in Porto, why not plan ahead and tour the country or at least the capital city of Portugal – Lisbon. This month we’re focusing on the Douro region, in the north of the country. UNESCO has already granted World Heritage status to 18 Portuguese sites, including historic centres, archaeological sites, cultural landscapes, natural parks and intangible heritage, such as the Historic Centre of Guimarães, the Historic Centre of Porto, and the Alto Douro Wine Region.
Following the river Douro upstream, you reach the Alto Douro Wine Region. This is a land of traditions, a place of enchantment and mysticism, a great stretch of land where Nature reigns in perfect harmony with the inhabitants that have shaped the valley slopes and organised the land into vineyards. Each of these vineyards can be accessed by winding roads that pattern the landscape. There has been evidence of wine production for more than two thousand years in the region but it was only in 1756 that the Demarcated Douro Region was created and wine production in the region was organised and became internationally recognised. It was the first region in the world to be demarcated and it is a land where traditions and modernity go hand-in-hand. This combination is still evident today in the traditional harvest that is still done by hand and the squashing of the grapes by foot and the most modern vinification processes that accompany these traditions. The Douro River and the Douro Valley are known primarily for Port, a sweet wine that has been produced here for two thousand years, along with less well-known red and white table wines. The Alto (upper) Douro, also known as the Douro Vinhateiro is dominated by big placards on the hillsides bearing the names of famous Port producers such as Cockburns, Taylors and Sandeman.
Don’t Forget to…
- Visit some of the wine producing farms or “Quintas”
- Stay in the wine inspired hotels in Porto and the Douro Valley
- Take part in the “vindimas” (grape picking)
- Take an environmental cruise on the river near Miranda do Douro
- Visit the wine villages of Barcos, Favaios, Provesende, Ucanha, Salzedas and Trevões
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