Demarcated Douro Region
Located in northern Portugal and regulated in 1756 the Douro demarcated Region (the oldest in the world) occupies a total area of 250,000 ha along the basin of the Douro river. The distinctive feature of the great Douro valley are the vineyards with 45,000 ha divided into three regions, separated by climatic and socio-economic and climate factors: Baixo Corgo; Cima Corgo; Douro Superior.
Surrounded by mountains that protect it from the moist winds of the Atlantic, the climate of the region is characterised by very cold winters and hot, dry summers. While there is granite too, the soils are largely schist - poor and stony - on which man has had a decisive influence.
Grown mainly on the slopes that follow the winding Douro river and its affluents, the vine may be grown traditionally, on narrow terraces supported by dry stone walling; horizontally across levels where the topography permits; or vertically where the lines of planting follow the steepness of the slope.
UNESCO recognised the unique impact of man on the landscape in designating the alto Douro wine region as a World Heritage site in 2001. It is now renowned for the outstanding character of its beauty and the pleasure of discovering the range of its contrasts.