Description 1 of 2

This region, named for the river, is best known for its reds that are specially selected to go into Port. However, excellent still wines have also emerged from this region. It runs from the Spanish-Portugal border up along the Douro to the town of Porto. Production dates back to Roman times, when monks planted vines on the steep slopes.

The turning point in its history came in 1703 with the Treaty of Methuen (Methwen) when England and Portugal worked out a discounted exchange rate for wine to England and textiles to Portugal. English wine importers then began to classify Port and the area was divided into three sections: 
*Baixo Corgo, the coolest and wettest, with the fewest grapes grown specifically for Port.
*Cima Corgo, the higher region surrounding the town of Pinhao. This is the heart and soul of the Douro and the main Port quintas are situated here. This is where most of the higher quality tawny, late bottle vintage and vintage Ports are produced. 
*Douro Superior, the most hot and dry section, still up and coming in wine production. 
The Douro is a great mix of very traditional wine-making, some who even still crush grapes by foot, with the very modern. 
There are 341 recognized grape varieties grown within Douro. But the main grapes it is known for are Touriga Nacional (also for Port), Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca and Touriga Franca (or Touriga Francesca). There are some rosado styles made from these and others. Whites, though not as common as reds, are made from Viosinho, Rabigato, Gouvelo and Codega. 
– Description from Amanda Schuster

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Description 2 of 2

The Douro Region is one of the most important and oldest demarcated regions in the world. Wine-growing in the Region has been practiced seen time immemorial and its increase during Roman occupation is well known. In the 12th century, with the independence of Portugal, the development of wine-growing got under way in the Douro Valley, and the first exports, to France, go back to the 13th century, expanding in the 14th century. Only in the 17th century is the first reference made to the denomination “Porto Wine”, as applied to Douro wine. In 1660, political differences between France and England already prevailed. In this context, the French minister Colbert imposed high duties on the export of Bordeaux wines to England. In retaliation, the English king, Charles II, decided to boycott the import of Bordeaux wines. This episode would decisively mark the international vocation of Porto Wine. It was indeed after this decision by Charles II that Plymouth, Bristol and London merchants discovered the virtues of Douro Valley wines, thanks to the reports reaching them from the flourishing English trading community in Oporto. In 1703 an Anglo-Portuguese agreement is signed. In 1756, setting-up the demarcation of the Douro region, King Joseph’s minister, Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, later the Marquis of Pombal, created the Companhia Geral da Agricultura das Vinhas do Alto Douro (the General Company for Upper Douro Wine-Growing). – Description from ArturSalazar

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