People have lived in our valley for at least 25,000 years. We know that because of carvings from this period that were found in the northern Douro Valley. And viticulture has been practiced here for several thousand years. Wine is in our blood, so to speak!
Wine exports also have a long history Portugal having had a long-term trading relationship with England. Several wars between England and France during the 18th century considerably increased the demand for Port wines in Britain.
By expanding the transport routes within the Douro Valley the local winegrowers, who lived at their Quintas (as the wineries are called) surrounded by the terraced vineyards, were able to deliver the young Port wines via the Douro river to Oporto on the Atlantic coast, from where they could be shipped across the ocean.
In 1756 Portugal’s Prime Minister Marques de Pombal drew the borders of the Douro Valley, making it the oldest, demarcated wine region in the world. That led to wine became the region’s main crop, and grapes almost the sole source of income for the valley’s inhabitants. They delivered their wines to the traders in Oporto who undertook the export sales and marketing for the region. Only after Portugal joined the European Union in 1986 was the export monopoly of the large Port houses abolished and the individual Quintas were granted the right to sell directly on the world market.
On December 14, 2001, a large part of the Alto Douro wine region was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site; another decisive step for the region’s international renown.
With the Douro Boys, a group of like-minded winemakers was formed. We made the quality and importance of Portuguese red and white table wines known around the world. Because of our promotion the valley is now considered an insider tip by travellers all over the world.