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Port Wine: Portugal's Douro Valley, Making Port Wine & the History of Port

Port is a fortified wine from the remote vineyards in Portugal's Douro Valley. Here, in the Douro Valley, time has almost stood still. You will not find the latest wine making techniques and fancy equipment. Instead, you will find a wine industry much the way it was over a hundred years ago. Yet, in spite of it, or because of it, vintage Port is one of the world's greatest wines.

Port takes its name from the city of Oporto that is situated at the mouth of the 560-mile long Rio Douro or River of Gold. Although many port-style wines are made around the world – most notably Australia, South Africa and the United States – the strict usage of the terms Port or Porto refer only to wines produced in Portugal. It is these wines that we will explore here.

Exploring Madeira: Producers & Firms

Wine is a way of life in Madeira. Wine is made all over the island and it is considered rude not to accept a glass or an invitation to see where it is made. Madeira though often over looked, is one of the three great fortified wines of the world – the other two being Port and Sherry. Like Port, the original Madeira wines were not fortified but only became that way in order that they might better survive long sea transportation. It wasn't until the middle of the eighteenth century when British merchants on the island, began to add distilled spirits, made from sugar cane, to preserve it on its long voyage to the Americas. But at this point, the two wines differ. Unlike Port that enjoys peace and quiet as it matures, Madeira improves the more it is mistreated. This was not always known. It was discovered one day, when a shipment returned unsold after an arduous journey at sea. From that time forth, Madeira has always been heated to achieve its special qualities.

Madeira Wine: History of Madeira, Port of Funchal, & the Madeira Island Region

Madeira, named after the island it is made on, is like no other wine in the world. Perhaps no greater dedication has gone into the making of a fine wine, than that which has gone into the making of Madeira. Its success owes a lot to the primitive shipping conditions of the seventeenth century.

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