Tejo The Origin of Portuguese Wine
The Tejo River plays an enormously important role in the Portuguese wine scene – it was on the banks of this river that the Tartessos first cultivated vines on Portuguese soil in 2000 BC, before the Kingdom of Portugal was even founded! In addition to Tartessus, the Romans also implemented new techniques of cultivation and production of wines and directly influenced the history of Portuguese wines.
On September 10, 1756, the creation of the first demarcated wine region in the world, created by Marquês de Pombal, caused the vines in Tejo to be uprooted following orders that vineyards should give way for other forms of culture and techniques in the production of wines.
For many years, the image of Tagus wines was ruined by the fact that their production was focused on high volume, but with Portugal’s entry into the European Union on January 1, 1986, wineries were able to modernize and their focus shifted to wine quality.
In 1989, production began to be regulated with the Indications of Regulated Provenance for wines from the region and, in 1997, the Ribatejo Regional Wine Commission was founded.
This commission was replaced in 2008 and became known as the Tejo Regional Wine Commission, giving rise to the creation of the Tejo Wine Route.
The wines produced in the Tejo region represent 10% of all wines produced in Portugal and there are three wine-producing regions, known Charneca, Campo, and Bairro.
Also read: The History of Russian River Valley
Fernão Pires is the emblematic grape of the region and corresponds to 30% of the grapes grown in Tejo. This variety is quite versatile and not only present in typical white wines, but also sparkling and liqueur wines, resulting in fruity wines with medium acidity.
The union of the natural beauty of this region with its rich wine-growing history attracts tourists that are passionate about wine. With this growing interest came the Tejo Wine Route, a route that aims to inform about local and cultural cuisine, but always with wine as the primary theme.