The Douro river runs through the oldest Demarcated and Regulated Region in the world, dating back to 1756, created during the reign of King José I by his minister ‘Marquês de Pombal’. Also known as the ‘Wine Country’, it extends along the Douro valley from Barqueiros – Mesão Frio to Barca D’Alva and is divided into three sub-regions: the Baixo-Corgo, Cima-Corgo and Douro Superior.
It begins in the Serra de Urbión, in the Cantabrian Mountains, in Spain, and flows into the Atlantic Ocean at Porto, in Portugal. Its name Douro has several origins. One comes from the Celtic ‘dur’, meaning water. Another says that on the steep slopes there were once nuggets of gold, hence the name + gold. Another version says it derives from the Latin ‘Durius’, meaning hard, due to the hardness of its contours, its sinuosity, protruding rocks, violent flows and fast waters that made this river indomitable.
With the construction of dams in the fifties and sixties the river was definitively tamed, creating reservoirs of calm waters, to highlight the Carrapatelo dam which is one of the largest in the world, because it overcomes a difference of height of 36 meters. It is the only Iberian River with a lock system that allows its navigability for about 200 km, from Porto to Barca D’Alva, bordering the International Douro.
The centuries-old traditions of the vine, olive and almond cultures and the work done by hand by man in the construction of thousands of kilometers of schist walls, where the expression of the bravery and determination of its people, their knowledge of the cycle of the river and its slopes created an intense scenario that reflects the passion for growing vines building a humanized landscape of exceptional beauty and due to the authenticity of its unique character terraces, UNESCO elevated in 2001 the Alto Douro Wine Region to World Heritage Site, thus honoring the cultural landscape of the Douro Vinhateiro.