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Southern Europe has always been known for producing some of the best wines in the world, however the Algarve region is now coming to the forefront as an emerging region of great wines, but why exactly is the Algarve a great wine region?
When we think of vineyards we often picture scenes of lush green vines growing under blue skies and it is true that the climate in the Algarve is one of the major factors in the wine from the region being so good.
The Algarve is a south facing region and this combined with the quality of the soil in the area makes it known as an excellent terroir for growing vines and therefore producing wines.
Wine making in the Algarve is thought to date back as far as 2000BC to the time of the Tartessians and this tradition was later continued by the Greeks, the Romans, the Phoenicians and the Celts with the wine becoming an important element of society thanks to its use in religious ceremonies.
Wine has been part of the culture in the Algarve for centuries but when tourism first started to come to the region the production of wine started to fall as more money could be made from land used for tourism than it could for wine production. During these years many farmers stopped growing the grapes and the Algarve began to get a poor reputation for wine, however this has been changing in recent years and now the wines of the Algarve are improving every year and gathering awards along the way!
The relaunch of the wine industry in the Algarve began in earnest in 1996 with the PROAGRI project to promote wines in the region and to focus on promoting quality over quantity with new grape varieties being encouraged.
The mild winters but high level of rainfall combined with the sunny springs and autumns make the Algarve an obvious centre for wine growing while the special soil of the region and effects of the sea breeze make vine growing in the Algarve unique and therefore the wines produced from these grapes are also very special.
Now increasingly the worlds of wine and tourism in the Algarve are combining with wineries encouraging tours from tourists who are already in the Algarve and many tourists looking to buy and sample local wines from the region.
The Algarve Tourism Board has a large amount of information about local wineries in the Algarve and there is a wealth of information about different wines from the region available, with a number of articles available here at Living In The Sun.
The future of wine in the Algarve seems to be a bright one and one that everyone can enjoy!