Vila Nova de Gaia: Port Wine

Vila Nova de Gaia - Port Wine
The story of Port wine begins when British merchants discovered the Douro Valley wines until then unknown to them. In 1703 the signing of the Methuen treaty privileged Portugal as supplier of wine to the British Crown. By adding brandy to help the wine endure the long sea trips. The dry and full-bodied, wine was transformed into Port.

In 1757 the Marquis de Pombal demarcated the Douro Valley vineyards creating the first Demarcated Wine Region in the world. Further legislation by D. Maria I, regulated the preparation and trade of Douro wines, stimulating improvements in the quality of the Port Wine that was exported by the General Company for the Cultivation of Upper Douro Vineyards, The extinction of this monopoly in 1834, liberalized the Port Wine trade, with some negative consequences for its quality.

Due to lack of space on the right bank of the river, the warehouses for aging, conditioning and storing the wine were built on the opposite banks of the river, in Vila Nova de Gaia.

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Arriving in Oporto to select a port wine for his college, Englishman Horace Grimpil soon finds himself embroiled in the conflicting interests of the British and Portuguese communities, where he is an ignorant outsider.

This Portuguese city - a turbulent place of ambition and defiance fought over by the French and British during the Napoleonic wars - is emerging from political turmoil that left the city and its people with their wealth and society destroyed.

Mr Grimpil, however, is about to experience personal turmoil of his own. Little does he know how the passions aroused during his journey of discovery will affect his own character, or how his presence will bring to a conclusion the relentless pursuit of a political revenge spanning generations.

Read more about the book here

Grimpil's Retrogress © 2010

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