Portugal: Wine laws

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Portugal’s wine law predates that of most other European countries (although see also tokaj in Hungary). In 1756, the then prime minister, the Marquis of Pombal, drew a boundary around the vineyards of the Douro valley to protect the authenticity of port, one of the wine world’s first examples of geographical delimitation. Bucelas, Colares, Carcavelos, Dão, Madeira, Setúbal, and Vinho Verde were all awarded região demarcada (demarcated region) status between 1908 and 1929, followed by Bairrada, Algarve, and Douro (for table wine) in 1979 and 1980. Since Portugal joined the EU, the Regiões Demarcadas or RDs were initially redesignated Denominação de Origem Controlada (doc), now Denominação de Origem Protegida (dop). A second tier, Indicação de Proveniencia Regulamentada (ipr), has been replaced by generally larger regions known as vinho regional. Underpinned by the wine without geographical indication designation, labelled vinho if Portuguese, this brings the country’s wine laws roughly into line with that of other EU countries.