The Algarve is a Portuguese wine region covering the entire area and region of the same name. The region is classified as a 'Vinho Regional' (VR), a designation similar to the French 'vin de pays' region. Located on the southern coast of Portugal, the region's wine industry is driven by the local population and tourist industry with very little wine exported.
Although the Algarve has had a historical link with wine (winemaking has been practiced in this region since Phoenician times and especially during the Romans) - until recently, traditional winemaking was not a focus for many decades and the area did not produced quality wine. Only in the last few years have young producers and viticulturists with enough technical know-how, have invested in modern, quality focused winemaking.

 

These new modern wineries are capable of producing quality wines with the ability to craft some excellent wines, capable of competing with varieties from more established wine-growing areas such as the Alentejo, Dao and Douro and also internationally.
The region enjoys a southerly location, protected by the Monchique mountains from the cold north winds, and its southern-facing aspect creates a favourable climate for grape vines. There are three appellations (D.O.C's) in the Algarve: Portimao, Única - Adega Cooperativa do Algarve (which includes what was: Lagos & Lagoa) and Tavira - from where new brands have recently come onto the market. Now that sufficient quality has been achieved, it has become vital to promote these wines outside of Portugal.
The wines of the Algarve consist of reds and whites made mostly from 'Tinta Negra Mole' and 'Crato Branco' varietals respectively. The reds are soft and low in acidity due to the warm climate, and high in alcohol, the whites are also full-bodied and best enjoyed served chilled.
The soils are sandy and gritty and produce wonderful almonds, oranges and avocados. Most Algarve wines are made by cooperatives - half by the region's oldest co-operative. The region's second-largest cooperative in Única, produces about 30% of Algarve wines. The rest of the production comes from Tavira, Portimao and private grape growers.