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Wine is known all around the world for coming in either red or white varieties but in Portugal there is also a green variety of wine that is very popular throughout the country and is becoming increasingly popular around the world also because of its light and fruity taste.
Green wine in Portugal is known as Vinho Verde and originates from the very north of Portugal in a region which was known as the Minho province. As the years have developed the region known for green wine has also expanded and the modern day green wine region of Portugal not only includes the old Minho region but also includes areas around the province.
Green wine is named so not because of the grapes that are used to make it but in the fact that it is a young wine and can come in red, white or rose varieties.
Because green wines are very young they are not designed to be stored away and are instead meant to be drunk within a year of bottling.
Green wine is very specific to Portugal and the term is protected by the European Union meaning that only wines made in this area can legally be referred to as being a green wine.
If you buy a green wine then the first thing that you will notice when you open it is that it is almost fizzy. There are actually not enough bubbles in the wine for it to be classed as sparkling but this light fizz is one of the features of the wine that make it so light and easy to drink.
While green wine is now very well known in Portugal it is not so well known around the world despite it having a very long history.
The first green wines were made by the Romans when they were in Portugal with records going back to 870AD but it wasn’t until 1908 that the “Vinho Verde Region” was officially recognised by a decree law in Portugal.
There are now around 35,000 hectares of land dedicated to growing grapes for green wine with more than 30,000 different producers making this beautiful type of Portuguese wine.
If you are looking to visit green wine vineyards then they can be found all in the very north of Portugal in Amarante, Ave, Baião, Basto, Cávado, Lima, Monção, Paiva, and Sousa.
Very good green wines can be found in Portuguese supermarkets and specialist shops. Have a chat with local waiters and sommeliers to find out the green wines that may suit your palate best or why not just start by ordering one with your meal next time you are out.
Green wine is especially enjoyable in the summer when it is hot and compliments seafood dishes and poultry very well.