Portugal, a world of difference

Portugal is now very much up there in the big international league. The days when locals drank virtually all of the country’s wines, bar a few thousand hectolitres of Port – a popular tipple with the English and the French – are now long gone.

The inception of the Portuguese wine trade organisation, officially recognised by a Ministry of Agriculture decree, marked a turning point in 1996. Local appellations were then harmonised with EU legislation, cementing the quality policy of Portuguese wines. The regional wine commissions followed shortly after and would play a fundamental part in developing the quality and prestige of Portuguese wines, which boast 31 appellations and 12 geographical indications. Concurrently with this, a new generation of producers and winemakers were trained in Portuguese universities, further enhancing the standard and consistency of Portuguese wines.


This appetite for export has been fuelled by a number of very favourable factors, including myriad native grape varieties whose popularity in international markets has not waned. Portugal and its weather also act as a magnet for holidaymakers, drawing many wine enthusiasts to the country. Similarly, its very competitive pricing compared with its well-established European counterparts is an advantage, as is the fierce determination to secure international endorsement for the nation’s wines and to continue to ramp up quality. There is no denying that Portugal’s gamble is paying off!