The Douro region is located in the northeast of Portugal and goes along the Douro valley, limited north, west and south by Marão and Montemuro mountains and east by the spanish frontier. The Douro river and its small rivers, such as Távora, Tedo, Torto and Corgo go along the deep valleys and most of the vineyards are located in stone scopes with a slope of more than 30% above the river basins.
This region has about 250 000 hectares, from which only 18,3% of the area are vineyards, that correspond to about 46 000 hectares, distributed among 40 000 wine producers.
The soils in this region are essentially abundant in schist, although in some areas there are granitic soils. These soils are difficult to work in and in the Douro region this is even more difficult due to the strong slope of the terrain. Moreover, these soils allow the longevity of the vines. The human effort in converting the inhospitable soil in vineyards resulted in three different ways of planting vines, being terraces the most traditional one.
The region of Alto Douro has a very peculiar weather similar to the Mediterranean one, in which the mountains of Marão and Montemuro have a great influence, working as a barrier to the west wet sea winds of the Atlantic Ocean. Located in deep valleys, protected by mountains, the region is characterized by very cold winters and very hot, dry summers.
The big diversity of grape varieties in the Douro region, flexible to different weather conditions, shows that there are good conditions to plant vineyards in the region. The red grape varieties existing in the region are Tinta Amarela, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Francesa, Touriga Nacional and Tinto Cão. The mainly white grape varieties are Malvasia Fina, Viosinho, Donzelinho and Gouveio. Regarding to productivity, the region grape varieties are not very productive. The maximum yield allowed is 55 hl / ha (about 7.5OOkg / ha). The medium yield is around 30 hl / ha (4 100kg / ha).