Port Wine & Madeira
In Portuguese: Vinho do Porto
Apart from the beaches and golf, a good reason for visiting Portugal is the alcoholic beverage called 'port', named after the city of Porto, which is located near to the wine's demarcated area of production.
Port is a fortified wine; the wine has had grape brandy added to it after a couple of days' fermentation. 80% wine 20% brandy.
There are several types of port:
Rabelo boat, traditionally used to transport barrels of port wine on the River Douro from Alto Douro to Vila Nova de Gaia in Porto © Oporto Municipal Council's Tourism Department
Madeira wine barrels on the island of Madeira off the west coast of Portugal
In Portuguese: Vinho da Madeira
Another fortified wine comes from the Portuguese island of Madeira.
The sweet version the English used to call "malmsey". There are two other versions: the semi-sweet "verdelho" and the dry "sercial".
Dry Red Wines of Portugal
Portugal also produces some excellent dry red wines from such indigenous grape varieties as Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Franca. The Alentejo region south of Lisbon is a good source of quaffable red wines.
Other Portuguese Wines
Portuguese wines include reds (tinto), whites (branco) and vinhos verde, young, lightly sparkling, mainly white wines with some reds and the occasional rosé from the Minho region around Braga.
Wine production in Portugal goes back to pre-Roman times, with the Phoenicians and Greeks both producing wine in the region. Portuguese wines were exported to England from at least the 12th century.
As an adjunct to the wine industry, cork production has a long history in Portugal and indeed Portugal is the world's number one producer of cork. Cork oaks can live to a ripe old age and are carefully tended and cut.
Read more about Portuguese wine