Portugal is Europe’s westernmost country and comprises the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean. It is a historic wine producing country that was exporting its wines to Rome in the days of the Roman Empire. Portugal was one of the first countries in the world to give wine-growing regions exact geographical boundaries and to classify their vineyards; its first demarcated wine regions were Porto and Douro in 1756. Portugal has a great diversity of soils and climates for such a small country, and it is often described as the country with the greatest variety of grapes. International varieties also feature and as Portuguese wine is usually a blend, labelling is often simplified by naming the wines as either Branco or Tinto – white or red. However, the classification of Portuguese wines follows the European system. Portugal is the world’s most important source of cork but, apart from this, the country’s best-known exports are its fortified wines – Port and Madeira.

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