A history of Port Wine 1
The history of port wine can be considered to be something of an accident, meaning that its development and lifespan can be considered to be an accident of history. Count Henry of Burgundy is the one who introduced the French pinot noir vine into Portugal and the rich red wine that it produced in this area can be argued to be the forerunner of the ports that we know today.
The thing is that until the 17th century Portuguese wines weren’t very well known, the French ones were infinitely more popular. The rise in popularity of the Portuguese wines started to happen because the relations between Britain and France had deteriorated to such an extent that the British started to impose some very heavy import duties on French wines.
As such it came to be that the British developed a taste for wines from the Douro valley and by the end of the next century, thousands of casks of Douro wine were being shipped to Britain on a constant basis. During this time the practice slowly developed of fortifying the wine with brandy in order to prevent the fermentation process continuing during the trip.
This fortified wine came to be called ‘port’ because it started its journey from the city of Oporto, and interestingly enough its production is still restricted to this day exclusively to the Duoro valley area.
Port wine really made an impact during the French Revolution and then during the Napoleonic Wars that followed. These political upheavals in France meant that French wine was increasingly harder to obtain by the Brits, which mean that they focused even more on Port. So much-so that quite a few British wine merchants migrated to Portugal to establish what would later become famous port houses. It should be noted that other European nationalities followed suit, but the British were by far the most numerous.
Keep our Portuguese car rental services in mind on your trip to the Douro valley.