Portugal and the Vinho Verde Region 

Portugal is well-known all over the world for the production of Port Wine. Nevertheless, Portugal is also home to a multitude of native grape varieties. This article will be focusing on Portugal and the Vinho Verde Region. 

Map of the Sub-appellations in Portugal photo courtesy of: winemag.com




The Vinho Verde region is the biggest wine producing region in Portugal. 

It’s located on the North-West of Portugal, starting at the upmost North area of Portugal in the border with Spain, Monção e Melgaço, and finishing at Vale de Cambra.  

It’s home to a multitude of native grape varieties, some of the most representative ones being: Alvarinho at Minho River Valley, Avesso at Douro River Valley and Loureiro at Lima River Valley – white grape varieties. As well as Vinhão, Espadeiro and Alvarelhão – red grape varieties. 

There is a wide misconception about the name of this region. “Vinho Verde” is the name of the PDO for this Region. “Vinhos Verdes” (plural) is the name of the Wine region. The literal translation to English “Green Wines” has the average wine consumer thinking that “Green Wine” is a type of wine such as White or Red, when in fact it’s the name of the Region. 

In order to receive the “Vinho Verde” seal, the wine must have a set of characteristics, if the wine does not comply with the restrictions, then it will be labelled “Minho.” 

A Vineyard in Portugal. Photo courtesy of ViniPortugal.




Outside of Portugal, Vinho Verde is known mostly for its white wines, which tend to be fresh and floral with naturally high acidity. 

Many of Vinho Verde’s vineyards have recently been modernised, moving away from the old-fashioned approach of letting vines grow wildly up trees, to organised, South-facing rows of vines that maximise exposure to sunlight and cooling breezes. This has allowed winemakers of the region to up their game and an impressive increase in quality is very noticeable. 

Vinho Verde is home to some of Portugal’s most beautiful, sloped vineyards. It has a cool, much wetter climate than other regions across Portugal due to its north-westerly location, however it’s these cooler temperatures that create such naturally high levels of acidity in the white grapes. This area gets more rainfall than others, meaning vines do not struggle to find the hydration they need to grow. Instead, the granite soils and wetter climate provide ideal viticulture conditions, producing fresh and mineral wines. 

Whether you’re going to Porto, Franschhoek or Sancerre check out our JOURNAL for more articles!

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