The Douro Valley

Douro – the oldest demarcated wine region


The Douro region is since 2001 an UNESCO World Heritage and one of the oldest demarcated and regulated wine region, which goes back to 1754.

This has officially confirmed the recognition and experience of a long tradition of winemaking. According to archeological information our winemaking history goes back to the Bronze Age, from which Phoenicians and Romans have left their marks in winemaking.

The Douro valley consists of deep valleys surrounded by mountains, terraces and between them some small forest lots (also UNESCO protected), which extend across the Douro river and its tributaries.

The climate conditions of this particular area are characterized by cold winters and very hot and dry summers and, moreover, are under the strong influence of the damp west winds coming from the Atlantic. The small wooded areas help to store this humidity.

The numerous wine terraces feature steep slopes and a pronounced tendency to ideally absorb light and heat from the sun. The terroir provides the best conditions to cultivate real quality wines. The Douro Region consists of 3 wine-growing regions: Baixo-Corgo, Cima-Corgo and Douro Superior. Wine experts classify the Cima Corgo wine-growing region as the noblest for cultivation of quality wine.

  And here precisely are all the Quinta do Cume vineyards:
The vine roots do not have an easy life. They have to survive under the rocks and search for the scarce water resources. The shale is fortunately loose and crumbly. The work of the vines is worthwhile, because the shale ground stores the heat of the sun and radiates it homogenously during the night or during colder periods.

Due to these climatic conditions the Douro valley has high quality and special wines, which belong to the most intense and complex Portuguese wines. Winegrowers have it anything but easy, because this unusual terroir with the described conditions reduces the production quantity. The vineyard production represents almost one third less than in other wine regions in Portugal or worldwide.

The Douro Wine Institute allows a maximum production of 5.000 liter per/ha, a quantity that is never reached by the producers. For example, in the region of Alentejo, the limit is set at 15.000 liter/ha.

The natural and also official quantity limitation represents an advantage for the quality promotion of the Douro wines.

Last December, the magazine Wine Spectator has again nominated the 100 Top Wines of the World and three Douro wines occupied the first four places.