Discussing Port wine entails embarking on a journey to the past, flying over the Douro Valley, and feeling immense pride in recalling one of the oldest relationships between countries. Each glass of Port wine, served ceremoniously in a slender glass, contains countless stories.


The distinctive flavour stems from the Indigenous grapes of the Douro wine region. The production, initiated by the Romans upon their arrival in Portugal in the 2nd century BC, began on the banks of the Douro River, where they cultivated and produced wine. After the foundation of Portugal as a kingdom, wine became one of the main export products. However, the Port wine we know today emerged at a later time.


In 1386, the Treaty of Windsor was signed, a political, military, and commercial alliance between England and Portugal, allowing merchants from both countries to reside in the opposite territory to trade goods proportionally. Over time, numerous English merchants established themselves in Portugal. By the 15th century, the main commodity for exchange was wine for England and, of course, codfish for Portugal.


Another significant treaty was the Treaty of Westminster, signed in 1654. This treaty bolstered the trade exchanges between the two countries, granting benefits to the English and Scots residing in Portugal, such as preferential customs duties. Before Porto became the primary trading hub, trade exchanges occurred in Viana do Castelo, where textiles from England were imported, and cereals, olive oil, and a beverage known as “Red Portugal” were exported. A light wine produced in Minho, in the towns of Melgaço and Monção.


In 1667, a series of misunderstandings between the English and the French, led Louis XIV’s prime minister to restrict the importation of goods from England to France.

In response, Charles II of England raised the tax on French wine and eventually even banned its importation. This historic event boosted Portuguese wine exports, benefiting English traders residing in Viana do Castelo.

As sales increased, traders began to realize that the English did not appreciate the light and unstable wine from that region. For that reason, they started to explore more inland territories in the North of Portugal.


You probably already guessed where these traders found rich soils for wine production more pleasing to the English. It was in the Upper Douro, an area where the renowned Port Wine is still produced to this day!


This delightful wine, which travelled directly from Porto to England, captivated and continues to captivate everyone.


If you are a fan of this drink, at Mar d’Estórias we offer the Port Wine Trilogy, an experience where you can savour white Port wine, LBV, and Tawny 10 years.