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Vineyard Landscapes

Douro is a region intrinsically linked to its wines. As such, the landscape is moulded and sculpted to the production of wine. The slopes, the vast rows of wines and the Douro river are all part of this unique landscape.

Vineyards in the Douro | © Museu do DouroVineyards in the Douro | © Museu do DouroVineyards in the Douro | © Museu do DouroVineyards in the Douro with autumn colors | © Museu do DouroVineyards in the Douro | © Museu do DouroHarvest time | © Miguel MoraisVineyards in the Douro | © Museu do DouroVineyards in the Douro | © Museu do DouroVineyards in the Douro | © Museu do DouroVineyards in the Douro | © Museu do DouroVineyards in the Douro | © Museu do DouroVineyards in the Douro | © Museu do DouroVineyards in the Douro | © Museu do DouroVineyards in the Douro | © Museu do DouroVineyards in the Douro | © Museu do DouroVineyards in the Douro | © Museu do DouroVineyards in the Douro | © Museu do DouroVine leaves in autumn | © Museu do DouroVineyards in the Douro | © Museu do DouroVineyards in the Douro | © Museu do DouroVineyards in the Douro | © Museu do DouroVineyards in the Douro | © Museu do DouroVineyards in the Douro | © Museu do DouroAlto Douro Vinhateiro | © Melanie AntunesHouses located on a hillside surrounded by vineyards | © Melanie AntunesVines in Vila Nova de Foz Coa | © Melanie AntunesLandscape in the Douro | © Judite RochaLandscape in the Douro | © Judite Rocha

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In the Upper Douro Valley (Alto Douro) the spectacular terraces are cut into the valley sides to house the vineyards and they restructure the landscape that borders the clear waters below. The water reflects the vast lines of grape vines that change colour over the seasons, from green to golden browns, orange and reds. The deep purple, white, green or red grapes are hidden between the leaves. These full and colourful bunches are fit for any dining table, although the majority will be reserved for the production of wine.

In September the Douro banks come to life with workers collecting the magic fruit that will make Port Wine and other Douro wines.

The beautifully unique landscape of the Douro was one of the reasons that made it a World Heritage site in 2001. One of the criteria on which UNESCO based this decision was the importance of the human hand in the shaping of the landscape, using traditional methods and transforming it from a sterile land. “The cultural landscape of the Alto Douro is an outstanding example of a traditional European wine-producing region, reflecting the evolution of this human activity over time.” (Criterion V: Justification for Inscription).

The other two criteria are also linked to the production of wine. The third criterion highlights the traces of the remaining or extinct civilisations, many of which were wine-producing, such as the Romans that left behind remains of their stone tanks (lagares) (criterion VI exemplary architectonic example). There is evidence to show that wine has been produced in the region for at least two thousand years.

The Douro landscape reflects its ancient and deep connection with the culture of wine, creating a picture of Man and Nature working side by side in search of the perfect wine.

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