The Douro wine country is located on either side of the River Douro. Protected from the harsh Atlantic weather by the Serra do Marao mountain range, this demarcated area has a Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and cold wet winters.
Many of the most famous wine estates (“Quintas” in Portuguese), and those producing the most exceptional wines and Port, are found in the Cima Corgo area, around the small town of Pinhao. Spectacularly steep terraced vineyards rise up from the river and cover the surrounding hillsides.
Here, in this breathtakingly beautiful but inhospitable landscape, vines and wine makers are equally challenged. The vine plant roots must dig deep down into granite-based or schist-covered soil to seek water; creating, caring for and harvesting a vineyard on this steep terrain is hard physical work, much of which can only be done by hand.
Natural conditions are, however, by no means entirely working against the Douro’s talented wine makers. An exceptional diversity of sun expositions as well as different altitudes, and the extensive palette of local grape varieties, all combine to form a unique terroir ideal for creating complex full-bodied red wines, crisp minerally whites and magnificent Ports.