The “Vinho do Porto” is the famous Portuguese fortified wine exclusively produced in the Douro Valley, in the northern Portugal. Its origins date back approximately to the half of the XVII century, and cause disagreements even today. Let’s see why.
Starting from the XIV century, the England -Portugal relationship started to grow and got better, due to the 1386 Treaty of Windsor, which established a close political, military and commercial alliance between the two countries. Over the decades and centuries these binds became stronger, until another treaty, in 1654, gave the English and Scottish merchants established in Portugal special fiscal privileges while importing goods in Britain. At the same time, Britain’s connection with France was seriously hampered because of reciprocally exacerbated customs duties resulting from political frictions.
Suddenly, therefore, the Portuguese wine became more affordable to import and, without the access to French wine, England demand for the “Vinho” rose up dramatically. It is at this point that we find different versions regarding the birth of “Vinho do Porto” as we know it today.
Some say that, in order to avoid the spoiling of the wine during the long transportation, and in order to boost the alcoholic content to please Englishmen, British sailors invented the practice of spiking the wine with a little bit of Brandy, therefore appointing them the brilliant invention spark; others, on the contrary, say that British importers only have the credit of having discovered a variety of wine that, being fortified, would appeal English tastes AND that at the same time, proved to be more resistant during the laborious transportation.