After being somewhat neglected in favour of tourism, the wine-growing activity of the Algarve has been enjoying an incredible resurgence since the early 2000s. It has to be said that, thanks to the proximity of the ocean, the protection ensured by the Serra de Monchique against the cold airstreams from the north, and the south-facing exposure, the region's climate is perfect for wine-growing. Today, over twenty producers operate between Lagos and Tavira. Planted in an astonishing variety of soils, their vines produce a wide range of grape varieties, such as Arinto, Fernão Pires, Malvasia Fina, Chardonnay and Sauvignon for the whites, Alicante Bouschet, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Trincadeira, Petit Verdot and Touriga Nacional for the reds.
Visit these quintas (“farms”), such as Quinta do Outeiro, near the town of Silves, to explore the vines and savour the wines of the Algarve. Thanks, in particular, to manual harvesting in 20-kilo containers and eight months' ageing in French casks, Joaquim Lopes has turned his estate into an indisputable leading name that supplies a great many restaurants in the surrounding area.
When your visit is over, travel on five kilometres to Quinta da Vinha. This farm is distinctive for growing a typical old grape variety, the Negra Mole. This grape yields a light red wine, verging on rosé, which is a perfect match for fish and seafood. Follow your guide through the cellar and vineyard to discover the production process, step by step. Afterwards, you can take a break and enjoy some delicious petiscos (local tapas).
A few kilometres further on, the Quinta dos Sentidos welcomes you with a guided tour of its vines, production tools and flower garden. When it comes to tasting - in moderation, of course - this is done a little differently here: in addition to wine, you will taste verjuice, the acidic juice that comes from unripe grapes. And even those who are not into oenology will find something to enjoy here. The estate makes an excellent olive oil, one or more bottles of which you can take home in your luggage. With six Protected Designations of Origin, the Algarve region produces oils that often win awards in international competitions.
Quinta do Outeiro
Tel : +351 918 126 664
Quinta da Vinha - Cabrita Wines
Sitio da Vala
Tel : +351 912 104 557
Quinta dos Sentidos
Tel : +351 282 144 668 / +351 915 466 240