Portugal has undergone something of a wine revolution in the past couple of decades, updating its winemaking technologies, styles and attitudes. This archetypal Old World country has long been famous its fortified wines (Port and Madeira) and tart, light Vinho Verde. But in the last decade or two it has garnered a great deal of attention for its new wave of rich, ripe, table wines, with reds from the Douro Valley particularly prominent.
Annual production has ranged between 600 and 670 million liters between 2016 and 2020. Over those years this has placed Portugal in 11th position in the world, while Italy and France have vied for top sport with figures between 4 to 5.5 billion liters. There are around 200,000 hectares of vineyards (nearly 500,000 acres).
One might argue that Portugal's place in the wine world has centered more around its cork production than its wine, but this depends largely on which period of history one chooses. In the 18th century, when the supply of French wines to England and Scotland was threatened by revolution and war, Portugal's vineyards proved more than capable of filling the void.
It was only in the 20th century, when international demand for Portuguese wines had dwindled to almost nothing, that Portugal rose to dominate world cork production. In the 21st century, the Portuguese cork industry is struggling (due to the ever-growing popularity of plastic corks and metal screwcaps), but the nation's wines are once again on the rise, led by dry reds from the Douro and Dão.
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