The Monção e Melgaço sub-region has a very special micro-climate in which the Alvarinho (white) and Pedral (red) grape varieties excel. The Alvarelhão variety (red) is also recommended here. All three of these grapes mature early. The soils of this sub-region are granite-based, there are some local strips with gravel. The particular features of this micro-climate are cold winters with average rainfall and very hot, dry summers, reflecting limited influence from the Atlantic. This sub-region developed along the hillsides of the Minho River’s south bank. The outstanding wines produced from the Alvarinho grape variety are the pride of the Monção e Melgaço sub-region.


The Vinho Verde region is located above 40° latitude in northern Portugal, to the west of the Douro region where Port is made and to the south of the Rías Baixas region of Spain, separated by the Minho River. The entire region covers over 2,700 square miles, roughly 8% of the country’s land surface.

Climatically Vinho Verde is similar to the American Pacific Northwest with temperatures ranging between 46°F (8°C) in winter and 68°F (20°C) in the summer months; the average mean temperature is 58°F (15°C). Annual rainfall is particularly high just over 47 inches (1200 mm) with most of the rain occurring in the winter and spring months. Cooler coastal regions like Lima, Cávado and Ave are subject to more marine influence with cooler average temperatures and higher rainfall while inland subregions such as Baião and Basto are both warmer.

Vinho Verde wines are well-known for their fresh, vibrant quality and youthful fruit. Most of the wines are intended to be enjoyed within a year to 18 months of release. Some of the wines offer a delightful hint of spritz.

White Vinhos Verdes are often blends of different grapes, but bottlings from single grape varieties such as Alvarinho and Loureiro can be found. Stylistically the whites display apple/pear and citrus flavors and range from 9 to 12% in alcohol content. Vinho Verde rosés offer aromas of red fruits. Red wines offer juicy red fruits with notes of fresh green herbs and also range from 8.5 to 11% in alcohol content. Vinhão, Borraçal and Espadeiro are red grapes commonly used in their production.


The landscape of the Vinho Verde region is comprised of a series of granite-based plateaus divided by the green valleys of the Minho, Ave, Cávado, and Lima rivers. Over the centuries granite taken from local quarries has been used to build roads, homes and churches. It comes as no surprise that most soil types found in vineyards are based on weathered granite.

Most of the Vinho Verde region is at or near sea level with the highest elevation in the entire region at 2,300 feet. Vineyards in the coastal areas of the Lima, Cávado and Ave sub-regions are planted between just above sea level to 650 feet; inland areas of the same sub-regions are planted up to 1,300 feet. The sub-regions of Monção and Melgaço, Sousa, and Paiva are located farther inland with less maritime climate influence and have a slightly higher average altitude ranging between 150 and 1,300 feet.  The sub-regions Amarante, Baião and Basto have the most continental climate with vineyards planted between 650 and 2,200 feet.