With more than 3,000 hours of sunshine every year, grape vines love the Algarve for the same reason the tourists do, - it’s the perfect climate for growing vines as it’s never too hot and never too cold.
For a relatively small country, Portugal is the seventh largest wine producer in the world. Their range of wines - which include Port, Madeira and Vinho Verde (Green Wine) - have been exported to Rome and beyond since the Roman Empire from the ports in Lagos and Sagres.
With a number of winemaking regions across Portugal, each have their own wine commission to supervise the quality of the produce. The Algarve has recently found a new lease of life within the wine making sector, and the region has benefited from replanting fresh varieties, modernizing wineries, and by being keen to use new methods of producing wine with advanced technology.
Four major towns in the Algarve lend their names to the region’s four wine DOCs (Denominacao de Origem Controlada) - the highest wine classification. Tavira in the east; Lagoa, Portimao both in central Algarve; and to the west Lagos. There are a number of vineyards across these regions and some are open to the public for tours and tasting sessions.
Traditionally DOCs white wines are created with Arinto, Malvasia Fina, Manteudo and Siria grape varieties, and for traditional reds are made from Casteleo and Negra Mole grapes. Very ripe fruit, velvety and warm flavours, characterise both white and red wines of the region.
Most of the new vineyards make Vinho Regional Algarve (Regional wine of Algarve) from national and international grapes, which are acclaimed nationally and internationally.