Port Wine

Port Wine is the major product of Porto.  It is grown and produced in the Douro valley just across the river from the old city of Porto.  There is an interesting story regarding Port wine.

The story goes, that two British merchants travelling through Portugal’s Douro Valley in the seventeenth century came across the monks at a monastery drinking a local wine with grape spirit added to it early in its fermentation so that the wine kept its natural sweetness. They decided to start shipping this wine back to Britain. The fortifying spirit helped to preserve the wine on its long sea voyage as well as giving it a unique sweet taste.

This was the beginning of the popularity of Port. The same production methods are, more or less, still used today. In 1756 the Marquis of Pombal (Marquês de Pombal) drew the limits of the Douro region, creating the world’s first officially demarcated wine region. It is a region sculpted both by nature and by humans over centuries and is for this reason now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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