Portugal: Dry Wines

We are excited to announce our latest expert guide, focused on the dry wines of Portugal. Learn about Portugal's history, geography, climate, wine law, grapes, and regions, and gain an understanding of why the country's dry wines are increasingly exciting. This guide does not cover Portuguese fortified wines, which will be covered in an upcoming guide to fortified wine more broadly.

Many thanks to  for his work developing this guide!

Read an excerpt of the new guide below, and find the full version in the expert guide section.


  1. History of Portugal
  2. Portuguese Wine in Context
  3. Land and Climate
  4. Portuguese Wine Law
  5. The Grapes of Portugal
  6. Minho
  7. Trás-os-Montes
  8. Douro
  9. Távora-Varosa
  10. Bairrada
  11. Dão
  12. Beira Interior
  13. Lisboa
  14. Tejo
  15. Setúbal Peninsula
  16. Alentejo
  17. Algarve
  18. Madeira
  19. Azores
  20. Bibliography

Portugal is a country of vinous extremes. It has a diverse array of terroirs and grape varieties and an ancient winemaking history. Yet its story is often oversimplified, with a focus on the massive success of Portuguese fortified wines and the industrial upheaval that took place in the 20th century.

More recently, a new generation of winemakers has reexamined Portugal’s land, grapes, and history, and these efforts are being recognized by the broader wine industry and consumers. Although the country’s wine evolution continues, Portuguese wine has never been more exciting, or delicious, than it is today.

This guide focuses on Portugal’s dry wines. While it includes a general discussion of the country’s history, geography, climate, wine law, grapes, and regions, information relevant only to Portuguese fortified wines is omitted and will be addressed in a future expert guide to fortified wine.

History of Portugal

Ancient History

Wine has been made in Portugal for thousands of years. Phoenician amphorae have been found along the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts of Portugal in settlements that date back as far as 800 BCE. The legacy of the western Phoenicians is felt in Portugal even today, especially in Alentejo, where amphora (known locally as talha) winemaking still thrives.

Starting around 200 BCE, Portugal was conquered by the Roman Empire, and the Romans expanded winemaking efforts. They planted heavily in Lusitania, a Roman district that extended from the Tagus River to the Douro River. The Romans also likely introduced the first serious plantings of vinifera in Gallaecia, the Roman administrative district that covered the area from the Douro River north to the Atlantic.