In this region with its Mediterranean climate, surrounded by mountains and highlands, one of the most famous wines was born. The land was harsh and rocky, and full of shale. Nothing, it seemed, could be grown. The land was unproductive and the soil was full of stones. Sites were inaccessible due to mountains, narrow valleys and gorges. The river was turbulent with rapids, waterfalls and treacherous rocks. The climate was severe with summer temperatures exceeding 45°C. The impoverished and malnourished population lacked property, employment, education, and health services.
Yet under these unfavorable conditions, men transformed the landscape. As far back as the end of the Roman Empire, in the third and fourth centuries, they tilled the land with pick and hoe and terraced the hills. They opened pathways, dug tunnels, and constructed a railroad. Control of the river was vital for the safe passage of the Rabelo boats and much later, the building of dams.
With the improved land came vineyards producing fine wines. The winemakers patented their place of origin, and built a warehouse for careful aging.
True to the vineyards where it all began, the soul of this wine is human because it was the men, farmers, traders, Douro people, foreigners, consumers and winemakers who made it all possible and still bring the wine to us today. This is how a wine is created and this is how a region is born.
– António Barreto