During the following centuries, Alentejo wine continued to be produced mainly for local consumption, with little emphasis on its quality or commercialisation. It was from the 1980s onwards and driven by a group of visionary producers that there was a significant change in the Alentejo wine sector.
These producers greatly modernised the traditional winemaking practices of those times, and introduced new technologies and winemaking techniques and began investing in the production of quality wines. It was by their hand that the region's potential for fine wine production began to be tapped and Alentejo rose to the status of one of Portugal's leading wine regions.
Over the last few decades, Alentejo wine has won numerous international awards and recognition and prestige. The region has invested in sustainable viticulture, valuing its soil and the region's native grape varieties. The result is a great diversity of wine styles, from full-bodied and elegant red wines to fresh and aromatic white wines.
The Alentejo is known for its vast expanse of vineyards, golden plains, picturesque wineries and the hospitality of its producers. Today, Alentejo wine is widely appreciated for its quality, authenticity and value for money. The region also invested early on in wine tourism, offering unforgettable experiences for visitors, such as wine tastings, tours of the wineries and pairings with the delicious Alentejo gastronomy, for which it stands out from other wine-growing regions in Portugal.
Alentejo has a Mediterranean climate, with long, hot summers and mild winters. The region receives plenty of sunlight throughout the year, favouring the ripening of the grapes. The hot, dry summers are tempered by Atlantic breezes, which help preserve the freshness of the grapes.
Then there is the factor of the wide variety of soils, from clay soils to limestone and schist soils. This diversity of soils contributes to different characteristics in the wines produced, providing a wide range of styles and flavour profiles. Above all, it is the indigenous and international grapes, from Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional, Trincadeira, Aragonez and the international varieties Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, that enrich Alentejo wines, resulting in wines with rich flavours and aromas.
Red wines are the Alentejo's speciality. They are full-bodied with soft tannins, ripe fruit flavours such as plum, cherry and blackberry, combined with notes of spices, herbs and a touch of vanilla from ageing in oak barrels. The Alentejo also produces quality white and rosé wines. White wines are generally fresh, with citrus and fruity aromas and flavours ranging from tropical fruits to floral notes. Rosé wines are elegant, with refreshing acidity and aromas of red fruits.
The region and its wines have won several prizes and international recognition, consolidating their position as one of Portugal's main wine regions. But the Alentejo is also known for its wine tourism offer. Many wineries open their doors to visitors, offering guided tours, tastings and wine-related experiences. Visitors have the opportunity to get up close and personal with Alentejo's traditions, enjoy its landscapes and taste the local wines. Make sure to visit this region that is so different from the other parts of Portugal.
Paulo Lopes is a multi-talent Portuguese citizen who made his Master of Economics in Switzerland and studied law at Lusófona in Lisbon - CEO of Casaiberia in Lisbon and Algarve.