The Portuguese DOC area for red and white wines was already legally defined in 1908. The vast area covers 60,000 hectares of vineyards in the districts of Braga, postage and Viana do Castelo. It stretches 130 long and 70 kilometers wide in the northwest Portugal between the rivers Douro and the Minho forming the border with Spain. The entire area is also known as Vinho Regional (VR) for local wines Rios do Minho classified. The cool and with an average of 2000 mm rainfall a year very rainy climate is very much influenced by the nearby Atlantic. The area is divided into the six sub-areas Amarante, Basto, Braga, Lima, Moncáo (considered the best) and Penafiel, which differ by the cultivated grape varieties. The subzone is usually not listed on the bottle label. The vines are raised in a pergola-like arbor system (Tendone). Around a quarter of the Portuguese wine is produced here. But around 60% produce simple, non-bottled sparkling wines, the murky ones cider resemble. The vineyards are cultivated by about 30,000 winegrowers with smallest vineyards often as a sideline.
Vinho Verde means "green wine", but this does not refer to the color (there are variants in white, rosé and red), but to the fresh taste, the green landscape and the fact that the wine is made from still green grapes. The cool climate, the training system and the special grape varieties yield must with low sugar and high malic acid content. The grapes, which are rather unripe by early harvest, are only fermented for a short time. Previously, followed by one malolactic fermentation, today is mostly carbonic acid added. This results in an acid-rich, fresh and tingling wine. A vintage seems rather rare. Most wines have only 9 to 10% vol alcohol content and should be drunk young. Due to the freshness and low alcohol content of the Vinho Verde is called "summer wine". Only the Alvarinho wines from Moncáo may have more than 11.5%, all others are just as Rios do Minho declared.
Since adaptation to the EU directives in the early 1990s, half of red and white wines are produced. The grape varieties are divided into recommended and approved varieties, around 35 are allowed. For the deep dark, acidic and extreme astringent Red wines are the recommended varieties Azal Tinto ( Amaral ) Borraçal, Brancelho ( Alvarelhão ) Espadeiro. Padeiro de Basto. Pedral. Rabo de Ovelha and Vinhão, They are barely exported. The white wines have a straw to lemon yellow color. The "genuine" Vinho Verdes are dry wines with a pungent taste. The recommended white varieties are Alvarinho. Azal Branco. Avesso. Batoca. Loureiro, Pedernã ( Arinto ) and Trajadura, The best qualities are those from Alvarinho and Loureiro that too unmixed to be produced. Well-known producers are Casa de Sezim, Casa de Vilacetinho, Casa de Vila Verde, Mendes Ponte de Lima, Palacio de Brejoeira. Sogrape (Gazela, Morgadio de Torre, Quinta Avelada, Quinta Azevedo), Quinta do Ameal, Quinta da Franqueira, Quinta de Liaxa and Quinta do Tamariz.