Port wine is a Portuguese fortified wine produced exclusively in the Douro Valley in the northern provinces of Portugal. It is typically a sweet, red wine, often served as a wine, though it also comes in dry, semi-dry. Fortified wines in the style of port are also produced outside Portugal, most notably in Australia, France, South Africa, Canada, India, Argentina, under European Union Protected Designation of Origin guidelines, only the product from Portugal may be labelled as port or Porto. Port is produced from grapes grown and processed in the demarcated Douro region, the fortification spirit is sometimes referred to as brandy but it bears little resemblance to commercial brandies. The wine is stored and aged, often in barrels stored in a Lodge as is the case in Vila Nova de Gaia. The Douro valley where port wine is produced was defined and established as a region, or appellation in 1756, making it the third oldest, after Chianti. The reaches of the valley of the Douro River in northern Portugal have a microclimate that is optimal for cultivation of olives, almonds, the demarcation of the Douro River Valley includes a broad swath of land of pre-Cambrian schist and granite. Beginning around the village of Barqueiros, the valley extends eastward nearly to the Spanish border, the region is protected from the influences of the Atlantic Ocean by the Serra do Marão mountains. The area is sub-divided into 3 official zones-the Baixo Corgo, the Cima Corgo, Baixo Corgo – The westernmost zone located downstream from the river Corgo, centred on the municipality of Peso da Régua. This region is the wettest port production zone, receiving an average of 900 mm, the grapes grown here are used mainly for the production of inexpensive ruby and tawny ports. Cima Corgo – Located further upstream from the Baixo Corgo, this region is centred on the town of Pinhão, the summertime average temperature of the regions are a few degrees higher and rainfall is about 200 mm less. The grapes grown in this zone are considered of higher quality, being used in bottlings of Vintage, Reserve, aged Tawny, Douro Superior – The easternmost zone extending nearly to the Spanish border. This is the least cultivated region of Douro, due in part to the difficulties of navigating the river past the rapids of Cachão da Valeira and this is the most arid and warmest region of the Douro. The overall terrain is flat with the potential for mechanization. Over a hundred varieties of grapes are sanctioned for port production, Touriga Nacional is widely considered the most desirable port grape but the difficulty in growing it and the small yields cause Touriga Francesa to be the most widely planted grape. White ports are produced the way as red ports, except that they use white grapes—Donzelinho Branco, Esgana-Cão, Folgasão, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Rabigato. While a few shippers have experimented with Ports produced from a variety of grapes. Grapes grown for port are generally characterised by their small, dense fruit which produce concentrated and long-lasting flavours, in 2013, there were 8.7 million cases of port sold,3. 6% less than the previous year, at a value of $499 million
A 10-year aged tawny port
Official guarantee label from a bottle of Port
The vineyards that produce port wine are common along the hillsides that flank the valley of the River Douro in northern Portugal.