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Douro Region, a World Heritage Site Blessed by Wine

Douro Region, a World Heritage Site Blessed by Wine

February 06, 2015

Discover the charms of Douro Region and the reasons that led it to World Heritage Site. Taste its unique and awarded Wines, specially Port Wine. Find out more!

An authentic Portuguese jewellery, in which Nature works together with the man. Creating the perfect combination to give life to Douro region, essentially rural focused in the wine industry.

Region carried to the four corners of the world for the success of the wines produced here, more specifically the remarkable Port Wine.

Knowing the Douro Region…

There are several factors that make it an appreciated kind of wine such us: the weather conditions, all methods used to treat the vines, manual and industrial, the bottling of wine and the rest and maturing in the wood wine barrels.

Its unique landscape, the quality of its wines and rich soil were big reasons that led Douro to be considered as World Heritage by UNESCO in 2001.

This title was given unanimously, rewarding the oldest demarcated wine region in the World, bounded by “Marquês do Pombal” (Pombal marquis) in 1756. Unique region due to its schist soil virtues and its privileged sun exposure with a distinguished local clime together with the hard work of Douro people.

What led Douro to be considered World Heritage?

Douro is the admirable example of how the man worked the terraces for the vines to grow, intervening in the landscape without invading it.

Douro landscape highlights three main aspects: its unique territory, the relation between the wine and the olive culture and the diversity of its local architecture. Besides this items, its candidacy noted the remarkable work performed by Douro people in the construction of the schist walls which prolong the hillsides.

Another great relevance factor about Douro wine region is the preservation of the authenticity and integrity of the cultural landscape. 

Douro Region: Historic Vineyards

Douro demarcated region its where are produced the Douro and Port wines, covers 250 000 acres, of which 48 000 are vineyards spread through 22 municipalities.

However, only 24 000 acres, which corresponds to 13 municipalities was classified by UNESCO as World Heritage. The classified region is representative of the diversity of Douro region including: “Baixo Corgo”, “Cima Corgo” and “Douro Superior”.

The Douro Valley is part of the classified area as well as its uttermosts, also classified as World Heritage namely Porto city and on the opposite side the Archaeological Côa Park. 

From Régua to Pinhão: a Wonderful Route

One of the most visited city in Douro is “Peso da Régua” which attracts its visitors through its handicrafts sweets “Rebuçados da Régua” and through the great concentration of wineries and accommodation gather in this region. Régua is trying to follow the innovative changes and the growing tourism levels that are occurring in Douro region.

The route from Régua to Pinhão is the most splendid although through very charismatic roads. You can see the vineyards spread everywhere in an almost symmetric structure, overlooking Douro River in its both margins.

Pinhão is a little village ahead of Régua mostly known by its train station. That shows us beautiful and inspirational tiles panels representative of Port wine production ancient methods since the grape harvest, treading the grapes to the transport of wine in rabelo boats down the river to Vila Nova de Gaia wine cellars.But the bean inside the cake is traditionally associated with some legends.

The harvests normally happen in September and October and many wineries in Douro open doors to visitors at that time. Rather than seeing how difficult terrains of the region are worked, combining ancient methods of work and technology, visitors are invited to get to work and participate in the harvest.

The Good Grapes that you harvest from Douro region

Douro classification as cultural, alive and evolutionary landscape came to give it’s contribute and impulse to a series of changes some of them defined in the draft application for World Heritage.

On the other hand the tourism level has increased considerably whether by land or by the river. Several wine estates joined the Port Wine Route, opening its doors to the visitants, promoting visits, wine tastings and holding events.

The historic train returned to Douro line, a steam train that makes you feel as if you went back in time to the beginning of the century. Besides the relaxing and calm Douro Cruises, the water sports in Douro River are also a regular adventure activities.

In 2006 was the celebration of its 250 years as a demarcated region, always with a sense of responsibility to maintain Douro beauty and culture intact.

Douro Internationally Recognized

Nowadays, Douro region begins to have some international impact especially because of its delicious and unique wines produced here, with particular emphasis to Port Wine. 

Douro was Excellence Destination in 2008 by World Tourism Organization. Douro River Valley was considered one of the 77 World Nature Wonders leaving behind 440 other region or sites.

In 2009, National Geographic Society elected it as the 16th Best Sustainable Tourism Destination of the World.

This last year of 2014, the region was highlighted with some wine awards one of those from the prestigious magazine of the wine world, the Wine Spectator, that announced Douro wines among its Top 100 Wines of the year.

Believe me the journey is worthwhile don't miss this opportunity I'm sure you won't regret it!