Bairrada: Home of Portugal's Baga Grape

Bairrada has a long tradition of producing wines from just one grape. Until recently, the region's wines were made primarily from the baga grape, often by traditional methods. Producers crushed grapes with feet and left the stems on during the production process. The region's fortunes changed for the better in 1991, when Portugal joined the European Union and modernization of Bairrada's wineries began in earnest. Today you will find both producers that use modern, sometimes even über-modern methods and winemakers dedicated to traditional practices. Happily, when conditions are right, both traditionalists and progressive winemakers can achieve excellent results.

Vinho Verde: Portugal's Largest Wine Region

The first thing you should know about Portugal's Vinho Verde wine region is that the name, which translates to "green wine," doesn't describe the color of the wine produced here. Instead, the name refers to the tradition of drinking Vinho Verde wines while they are young. In fact, the worst thing you can do to a Vinho Verde wine is save it for next year.