Wine Education: Portugal

Another week calls for another country and we are on to Portugal -one of my favorites! I became introduced to Portugese wine about 3 years ago when I attended a Wines of Vinho Verde event in Brooklyn. To date it’s still one of my favorite wine events and I have now gone 3 years in a row!

Michael & I at the first Vinho Verde event in Brooklyn

Alas, Vinho Verde is just a small portion of the wines produced in Portugal. Read along as I take you through the basics!

There are 3 official categories: DOC/DOP, IG/ IGP, and Vinho. Within each classification there are a number of regions and areas that make up the Portuguese wine community.

DOC/DOP

Wines of Portugal Map
Official Breakdown from Wines of Portugal

These are a typical European wine classification, with DOC meaning Controlled Designation of Origin and DOP meaning Protected Designation of Origin. Each has it’s own strict definition of boundaries both geographically and with winemaking. From yields to varietals, governing bodies control what the vineyards can produce, which is why you will still see great wines that are not in this “highest tier” of the classification system.

IG/IGP

Again, similar to other European classifications, IG, Geographic Indication, and IGP, Protected Geographic Indication, have strict regional rules. Within Portugal there are 14 IG/IGP regional wine areas. Originally, all wines were labeled VR, for Vinho Regional, and some old fashioned wineries will still use this labeling as they choose to use wines not approved by DOC.

Vinho

These are a simple table wine and are made with no rules or regulations. Most of the time they are not mass produced with the intent to sell, but are made by winemakers who are a bit more ambitious and want to skirt the rules.

I’ve included a few of my favorite wines from Portugal below as a reference and remember – I’m always happy to chat or answer questions in the comments or on any of my social media pages!

This Casal Garcia is a classic Vinho Verde. It’s light, crisp, and very inexpensive. It’s a go-to wine for me all summer long!

Port is essential when discussing Portuguese wines. Graham’s Tawny Port is what first got me into port. Typically I will have Graham’s as an after dinner drink and this is a more affordable option than the port in my Halloween post!


I recently had this Argilla red wine at a Wines of Portugal event with Vine Pair and spent a great deal of time talking to the winemaker. It’s a lower alcohol content because it’s meant to be enjoyed for all night. Really fantastic!

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