The Serra do Mendro
Different Alentejo

Geological heritage in the Ancient Iberian Massif

The Alentejo region has few natural resources, but it is the only Portuguese winegrowing region that has almost every type of soil found in Portugal.

The Serra do Mendro separates the Alto Alentejo from the Baixo Alentejo and has its highest point in the Herdade Aldeia de Cima, 412 metres above sea level. The Serra do Mendro, is part of the oldest geomorphological zone of the Iberian Peninsula. It has a unique geological structure known as a horst, that resulted from a raised block of the Earth's crust where thousands of metres of silt have been accumulated.

The lands that exist today, consisting of schist, granite, gabbros, quartzite and limestone, among many other types of substrate rocks offer an original portion of the Ancient Iberian Massif, deriving from of what remains of an old mountain chain in the Southeast of the Iberian peninsula, which began to rise from the ocean bed about 380 million years ago.

The demarcated wine region

The Alentejo Demarcated Wine Region is the Portuguese wine region with the greatest range of soil types: granite soils, derived from crystalline limestones, plus Mediterranean brown and red granite, and schist.

Archaeological vestiges indicate that wine production began with the Tartessians. But it was the Romans, with their deep knowledge of agricultural techniques, who spread vine and wine culture throughout the Alentejo. Portuguese viticulture traversed the historical periods marked by Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans. There was a prolonged hiatus during the Muslim invasion, that began in the 8th century. Wine growing returned to the Alentejo after the foundation of the Kingdom of Portugal. It flourished from the 16th century onwards and gained enormous prestige. However, the Marquis de Pombal ordered massive removal of vineyards during the 18th century, and the Alentejo’s wines fell again into obscurity, with devastating political, social and economic consequences.

The Alentejo was only classified as a demarcated wine region in 1988. At the time, its borders corresponded to the region’s entire area, 1/3 of the Portuguese territory, including the districts of Portalegre, Évora and Beja. The region’s total area of 26,158 Km2 has only 21,355 ha (2017 data) of vineyards, producing an average of 4100 kgs / ha.

Two new vineyards covering a total area of 6 hectares will be created in 2020 - the Vinha da Aldeia and the Vinha de Sant’anna.

The Vineyard
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