The Colares Region Demarcated since 1908
It is the westernmost demarcated region in continental Europe and the smallest still wine producing region in the country. An original viticulture with unusual and ancestral cultural techniques!
Bordered to the west by the Atlantic Ocean and to the south by the Serra de Sintra, 25 km northwest of Lisbon, the Colares Demarcated Region includes the former parishes of Colares, São João das Lampas and São Martinho, in the municipality of Sintra.
Irrational viticulture? A paradox? Yes. Fortunately, not all of the wine-growing world is written in black and white!
38° 48′ 21.0348″ N
-9° 27′ 7.1094″ W
Free-standing (non-grafted) and pre-phylloxera plantings
Deep sandy loams, no phylloxera tickles
Strong Atlantic influence, on the westernmost tip of the European continent!
Strong, salty winds that affect production!
Fog and mist
In a region with one of the lowest levels of summer sunshine in Portugal
A constant battle against the loss of land due to real estate speculation
The Real Atlantic, Mineral and Salty!
A bit of history
Phylloxera, the plague that Colares doesn't know about!
Conquered from the Moors by King Afonso Henriques in 1147, the town of Colares already enjoyed great importance as it is mentioned as independent from Sintra.
Numerous documents attest to the presence of vineyards in the region at the time of the founding of Portugal (12th century), including Sintra’s charter.
It is thought that the introduction of the ‘Ramisco’ variety to the region is due to King Afonso III (13th century), who brought it from France. The great oenologist Ferreira Lapa says that “Colares is the most French wine we have”. King Dinis (13th-14th centuries) imposed a tribute on the Moors, who owned the land in Colares, which included a quarter of the region’s wine production. The first documented export of wine from Colares, took place during the reign of King Fernando I (14th century). D. João I (14th-15th centuries) offered this region to D. Nuno Alvares Pereira as a reward for the victory of Aljubarrota.
In the century. XVI the region’s wine production was sufficient to meet national consumption.
On trips to India (16th century) Colares wine was one of the favorites for its longevity.
The ‘Ramisco’ variety was first described in 1790.
In 1865, phylloxera entered the north of the country, a plague that wiped out a large part of Europe’s vineyards. In Colares, the grape varieties planted in sandy soil resisted this pest, which contributed greatly to the growth of the vineyard.
The reason: the insect cannot reach the roots of the vines due to the depth at which they are planted, i.e. the huge layer of sand between the surface and the clay.
Even today, Colares retains all the genetic originality of the
and its indigenous varieties, as we don’t need to use the rootstock of
rootstock to control the pest.
Our sand vines are not grafted, so they are all free-standing.
At the beginning of the 20th century (1908) King Manuel II distinguished the Colares wine region by granting it the status of Demarcated Region.
Download our information leaflet and general glossary here: PDF file