In 1756, Portugal became the first country in the world to create a protected wine area, when the Marquis of Pombal defined and protected The Douro Valley to ensure the quality of Port wine, which was then at the height of its success. The early 20th century saw the creation of the região demarcada system, which sought to distinguish Portuguese wine regions. Following Portugal’s entry into the European Union in 1986, the denominação de origem controlada system was established to protect both regional wines and other agricultural products.
As with other European countries, the new EU regulations were adopted in the nineties, but in practice existing classifications are often used as the European system is relatively unknown by consumers in Portugal. The uptake of the European classifications differs between food products and sectors.
As with all other countries in the EU, there are three types of European protection available for foods and agricultural products. Under EU law, wines have their own scheme and are classified separately to other drinks and foodstuffs, although wines still bear the same PDO/PGI labels.
Number of protected foods: 133