Established in 1908, Dão was Portugal’s first demarcated region of non-fortified wines in the country. Located in the north center of the country, just below the Douro, the region is surrounded by mountains and valleys and is crossed by three major rivers: Dão, Mondego and Alva.
The vines are grown mainly between 400 and 500 meters above sea level, in the seven sub-regions of Alva, Besteiros, Castendo, Serra da Estrela, Silgueiros, Terras de Azurara and Terras de Senhorim.
The vineyards and, consequently, the wines are influenced by the well-drained granite soil and by the diversity of the microclimate. Dão is the region that gave birth to the Touriga Nacional, among the reds, the most emblematic variety of Portugal.
In 1990, Dão became a Controlled Designation of Origin.
The Dão Board Commission (CVR) is the body that represents the interests of the economic operators involved in the production and marketing of wine (or other wine products) that have the Designation of Origin (DOC). It is up to this body to guarantee its genuineness and quality, and therefore undergo close coordination and control.
The DOC Dão certification involves the practice of certain production methods and, in particular, the use of recommended grape varieties.
Let’s find out more from the words of Arlindo Cunha, President of the Dão Wine Board, CVR Dão.
Since the birth of your Foundation, what goals have you achieved and which ones remain to be achieved?
Dão, as a demarcated region, has existed since 1908 (second oldest in Portugal and the first non-liqueur wine region to be demarcated and regulated). We export to 77 countries and have been awarded in several competitions, both national and international.
There is, as is normal, a lot of work to be done in terms of communication, but Dão, from the above, is not unknown in international terms.
What are the peculiarities of the territory and its wines?
In this regard, Dão is a highly distinctive wine both for its character and for its elegance. It also stand out for its unquestionable aging capacity (also applicable to whites) and their evolution in the bottle, resulting in noble, elegant wines with a high aging potential. There are even those who compare the Dão region with the prestigious Burgundy Region.
We also have Encruzado, the region’s flagship white grape variety, which provides great wines for its unusual aging and evolution ability, and Touriga Nacional, an autochthonous variety of Dão, which gives us concentrated, fresh and elegant wines like only a granitic and surrounded by mountain massifs can provide.
In addition to an average altitude above 400 meters, there is a cross between Mediterranean, Atlantic and continental influences here, providing an environment that is unparalleled in any other region. And this is reflected in the contents of the bottles.
What services/activities do you use to promote DO DÃO Wine Region?
At the end of December 2017, CVRD hired a renowned consulting firm to help us develop a 10-year Strategic Plan for Dão. This plan aims to create a guideline for guided and projected growth in the internationalization of wines from the Dão Region, both in terms of the final consumer and “Media” and “Trade”, which we are currently implementing. The US, Brazil, Switzerland and Japan were defined as priority markets.
It does not, however, invalidate the continuation of the actions already provided for in the Activities Plan for the current year with a view to the international promotion of Dão Wines, such as the existing protocol with ViniPortugal since 2014, the presence in several international fairs, reverse visits of foreign journalists and importers, support from CVRD for the registration of our Economic Agents in recognized international competitions, among others.
What are the goals set for the near future to spread your excellences more and more both nationally and internationally?
New viticultural practices and new winemaking technologies have allied to an entrepreneurial spirit of wanting to do better, with results that have proven that the new options have been the most correct. Some of the most important Portuguese wine companies are represented in Dão, in addition to numerous private producers who have obtained wines from a well-recognized estate.
CVRD stimulates at the base through support in the study and development of grape varieties, which is being developed by the Polytechnic Institute of Viseu, although it should be noted that it was obtained through the Strategic Project to Support the Wine Row in the Central Region.
We reinforce this call for production with excellence with our Contest in the Vineyards, the Contest in Production until the final product through the Bottled Wines Contest that reward the best, not only with monetary incentives but also by the effective promotion of those awarded by CVRD. In this way, the entire value chain is developed and this is precisely the message to be disseminated to the entire market through the means presented in the previous answer.
Why are DO DÃO Wines so special?
For its terroir and for the centuries-old generations that have produced wine in the Region and have been able to resist the introduction of international grape varieties, while maintaining native grape varieties.
The climate and soils conducive to aromatic, fresh, elegant and balanced wines and its traditional varieties of unique quality, such as Touriga Nacional, in the case of reds, or Encruzado, in the case of whites, among others. Very gastronomic wines with an unparalleled longevity.
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