Azores

The weather conditions in the nine islands of the Azores are not very favourable to vine growing. However, the vine has a long tradition in the region, where it is grown since the 15th Century.
Most vines on the Azores are grown within currais, small dry stone wall enclosures made of black volcanic rock. Vines are planted in holes and cracks in the lava flows, and the walls protect the vines from Atlantic winds and salt spray. The vineyards of Pico are a particularly stunning example. So spectacular are that a vineyard area on the island of Pico has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Azores are famous for producing fortified wine in Pico and Graciosa, as well as for the production of a light, dry white wine in Terceira.
Pico wines are very balanced with strong minerality. In Graciosa the wines are fresh and fruity. Verdelho is the most famous and most grown grape variety in the Azores. It is thought to be originally from Sicily or Cyprus and afterwards taken to the Azores by the Franciscan Friars, who cultivated it throughout the islands.

Climate: Deeply maritime. Temperatures are mild throughout the year, despite the high level of precipitation and atmospheric humidity.

Soil: Volcanic

Curiosities

Pico Verdelho
In the 17th and 18th Centuries, the wines produced in the Azores, namely the ones produced in Pico, were exported to Russia and most northern European countries. After the Russian revolution in 1917, several bottles of Pico Verdelho were found kept in cellars belonging to ancient Russian czars.

Vinho de Cheiro
By far the majority of the vines grown on the islands are American species, planted after phylloxera. They make a curiously musky wine known as vinho de cheiro or ‘fragrant wine’ – loved by the islanders as well as island emigrés in Canada and the USA.

Source: Infovini, Wines of Portugal and Wine Comission of the Region

Main grape varieties

Whites:
Verdelho
Arinto
Terrantez
Fernão Pires

Sub-regions

  1. Graciosa
  2. Pico
  3. Biscoitos
Azores: sub-regions

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