A region famous for its beaches, watersports, and resorts, the Algarve’s not best known for its wines. However, while the dramatic descents of the Douro and sweeping planes of the Dão have had their wines lining the shelves of supermarkets far and wide, Portugal’s southernmost coastal region has been quietly cultivating its very own wines of excellence since Roman times. In recent years, however, the almost rain-free slopes of the Algarve have seen wine producers springing up once again, re-harnessing the area’s unique conditions to produce wines as exceptional as they are delicious, their high quality quickly drawing visitors – the numbers of which have been increasing year after year.
From tasting wines to taking in breath-taking sceneries, the Algarve makes an excellent wine-tasting destination, so read on to find out about the Algarve vineyards you won’t want to miss.
Wine in the Algarve
A classified wine-producing region best known for its reds, the Algarve is divided into four DOCs – Lagos, Portimão, Lagoa, and Tavira. Its exceptionally sunny, warm climate, blocked off by mountains to the north and bordered by the sea to the south, means it is washed with light breezes and protected from colder northern winds, creating the ideal conditions for the production of velvety wines with low acidity and high alcohol content. Wines that are exceptionally pleasant to drink in the region’s warm climate, they are mainly produced using the Negra Mole, Castelão, Siria, Malvasia Fina, and Manteudo grape varieties.
Though many of the Algarve’s vineyards and wineries have only begun to establish themselves in recent years, the demand for their produce is growing, leading to huge growth in their operations. Now providing wine tasting along with tours of the striking vineyards and their establishments, walkthroughs of processes and operations, and meals of several kinds, a tour of the Algarve’s vineyards are simply a must for any wine lover. Keep reading to find out more about them.
Unmissable vineyards in the Algarve
Among the Algarve’s over 300 vineyards, some of the most notable include:
- Quinta do Canhoto
A family-run Algarve vineyard within a 22-hectare property in Albufeira, its operations began as the family making wine for their friends in the 50s. 2009 brought with it the replanting of the entire vineyard and the mechanisation of operations, all leading up to the production of wines made from six grape varieties that would quickly amass mentions and awards.
Visit Quinta do Canhoto for a guided tour of sprawling vineyards and century-old olive trees, not to mention its contemporary, minimalist installations designed around bioclimatic architecture, the sea winking in the distance.
- Quinta da Tôr
An inland winery 6km north of Loulé, Quinta da Tôr’s 47 hectares have been used for wine production since the 15th century. Having been modernised in 2011, the property underwent a rebranding, its 7 grape varieties now used to produce sweet wines with a high alcohol content of between 16 and 17 per cent. Wine tastings can be enjoyed along with light tapas and a dip in an infinity pool overlooking the vines.
- Morgado do Quintão
Known as “The Algarve’s Landmark Vineyard”, Morgado do Quintão in Lagoa is home to some of the Algarve’s oldest vines, having been founded in the early 1810s and still owned by the same family. Vineyards, olive groves, and almond orchards lace the property, which provides accommodation in old, whitewashed cottages, in addition to a range of tasting experiences held under a 2,000-year-old tree. Producing wines served in 3-star Michelin restaurants worldwide, low intervention, chemical-free, organic methods applied to indigenous grapes characterise the wines produced by this “Quinta”.
- Quinta da Penina
Located near Lagoa and home to the oldest vine in the Algarve still in use – planted in 1942 – Quinta da Penina was born from a long legacy dating back to the Phoenicians and Carthaginians. With vinification placed as the main focus of the property in the year 2000, production began of the Quinta’s distinctive wine, which gains its properties from grapes produced across three estates with different terroirs. Tours of the gorgeous historic properties can be taken, rounded off with a wine tasting paired with regional snacks.
- Villa Alvor
Previously known as Quinta do Morgado da Torre, this 20-hectare vineyard in Alvor was founded in 1999 and was the first wine producer in the Algarve to be awarded the DOC seal. Producing elegant wines from hand-picked grapes matured in oak barrels, Vila Alvor wines can only be tasted and bought on-site, making a trip to this exclusive property a must.
A vineyard named after its neighbouring River Arade, its 9 hectares of vines feature red varieties such as Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional, and Cabernet Sauvignon and white varieties such as Alvarinho, Arinto, and Sauvignon Blanc. Having won awards from its very first year of production, 2019, the Arvad winery near Lagoa is well worth a visit, where wines are paired with regional snacks as you relax on a beautiful terrace overlooking sweeping vines and the river.
The Algarve: wine-tasting mixed with culinary delights
Home to the cataplana, barbecued sardines, the freshest oysters, and even local dried figs, the Algarve region has a rich cuisine that could not pair better with a glass of chilled local wine. Whether an afternoon, a day or a week touring vineyards, each locale is sure to provide unique pleasures surrounded by stunning scenery, ensuring you experience the Algarve like never before.