The Beira Interior Wine Route in Depth

With more than 2,000 years of tradition in wine production, the Regional Wine Commission of Beira Interior (CRVBI) was created in 1994 to certify, control and promote the region’s wine products with designation of origin and geographical indication.

The CRVBI’s mission is to increase the visibility and visibility of Beira Interior wines and help producers to increase their presence in the national and strategic markets, providing consumers with differentiated wines of continuous and consistent quality. Currently, more than 70 members, including cooperative wineries, producers and bottlers, winegrowers-bottlers and bottlers from outside the region, are part of the CRVBI.

Its project for the development of wine tourism, as well as the activation of tourism in the area in which it operates, will be on display on 1 and 2 March, during the 4th edition of FINE, #WineTourismExpo.

The Beira Interior area

The creation of the Beira Interior Wine Route, a territorial project that unites gastronomy, hospitality and the entire landscape, cultural and material heritage of the region, is an ambitious project that aims to offer a unique and structured wine tourism experience. The Beira Interior region is famous for the altitude of its vineyards, which extend over the sub-regions of Pinhel, Castelo Rodrigo and Cova da Beira. In addition, the region has a diversity of soils, which contribute to the diversity of the terroirs and, therefore, to the uniqueness of the local grape varieties.

Altitude is perhaps the most easily recognisable characteristic of the Beira Interior, as its vineyards are located on plateau or hillside areas, between 350 and 750 metres above sea level, making this the highest wine region in Portugal. The region’s climate is continental, with cold, harsh winters and hot, dry summers. Altitude can make a difference in the critical stage of grape ripening, mitigating heat shocks and favouring thermal amplitude between day and night. This results in a less hurried and more balanced ripening of the grapes, preserving their natural acidity and other important compounds. In general, altitude translates into wines with greater acidity and freshness.

The Designation of Origin

The Beira Interior Controlled Designation of Origin (DOC) is divided into three sub-regions: Pinhel, Castelo Rodrigo and Cova da Beira. Pinhel and Castelo Rodrigo have a dry climate, with relatively low annual rainfall and large annual temperature ranges. On the other hand, Cova da Beira is the largest and southernmost sub-region, with a more moderate altitude and a less extreme and continental climate. Outside these three sub-regions, vineyards not covered by the AOC are included in the Terras da Beira Geographical Indication.

The grape varieties used to produce Beira Interior wines are divided into three types: white grape varieties, red grape varieties and grape varieties used to produce fortified wines. The most commonly used white grape varieties are Fonte Cal, Malvasia Fina and Síria, while the red grape varieties include Rufete, Tinta Roriz and Jaen. As for the grape varieties used to produce fortified wines, Moscatel Galego Branco and Moscatel Galego Roxo are mainly used.

The region’s climate is continental, with cold winters and hot, dry summers, providing ideal conditions for vine cultivation. The wines of Beira Interior are characterised by their high acidity, unique aroma and flavour, and their ability to age for many years.

In addition to its wines, Beira Interior boasts a rich gastronomy, which includes typical dishes such as roast kid, chanfana (stewed lamb), cod in the regional style and chestnut soup. It is also famous for its extra virgin olive oil and artisan cheeses.

The region has many tourist attractions, such as the historic town of Guarda, the historic village of Monsanto, the village of Sortelha and the Serra da Estrela Natural Park, home to the highest mountain in mainland Portugal. There are also several hiking and cycling trails, as well as activities such as bird watching and fishing in rivers and reservoirs.