- the fifth-largest European wine-producing country, after France, Italy, Spain and Germany. Of the top five, Portugal dedicates the highest percentage of its agricultural land to viticulture. It is most famous for the port produced around the city of Porto (Oporto) in the north of the country and Madeira, from the Atlantic island of the same name. Portugal is responsible for the medium sweet, rosé wines Mateus and Lancers, which enjoyed huge international success during the 1960s and 1970s. However, since Portugal joined the European Union in 1986, the Portuguese wine industry has undergone a revolution, with investment and innovation, including the use of stainless steel fermentation tanks and small, new oak barrels. The old days of anonymous wines have been replaced by wines whose region of production is stated on every bottle. Estate bottling is on the increase and only the best grape varieties are being grown. The 10 demarcated wine regions of 1985 have risen to 55. Its wine-growing is characterised by a huge number of smallholdings, and in 1996 it had 367,000 farming estates primarily producing wine, about half of these occupying less than 2 hectares. Portugal is a treasure trove of indigenous grape varieties, and one of the most interesting and exciting aspects of contemporary Portuguese winemaking is the trend amongst the new generation of winemakers to produce wines with all that modern technology can offer, but using these native varieties. White varieties include Alvarinho and Trajadura, used in the making of vinho Verde; Arinto; Encruzado, grown in the Dão region; Loureiro; Fernão Pires (Maria Gomes), the predominant white grape in the Bairrada region; and Muscat. Red varieties grown include Baga, grown in the Bairrada region; Tinta Roriz, the name used in the Douro and Dão regions for Tempranillo and called Aragonez in Alentejo, where it is the most widely planted red variety; Touriga Nacional, considered the noblest Portuguese variety; and Trincadeira Preta, the red wine grape that is the same as the port variety Tinta Amarela. Portugal was responsible for one of the earliest demarcations of a wine area when, in 1756, the Marquis of Pombal ordered that the borders of the Douro valley – the home of port – be delimited by 335 stone markers, and in the first 30 years of the 20th century, the status of Região Demarcada was awarded to a number of regions – Bucelas, Colares, Carcavelos (three small regions near Lisbon), Dão, Madeira and Setúbal. This mark of quality has now been replaced by Denominação de Origem Controlada (DOC). Other classifications are Vinho Regional, the most basic level, similar to French vin de pays, and Indicação de Proveniencia Regulamentada (IPR). Wines in this category are termed VQPRD (Vinhos de Qualidade Produzidos em Região Determinada). Portuguese wine regions are, from north to south: the Minho, part of the Vinho Verde DOC and best known for its slightly sparkling wine; the Douro, land of port and some good red wines; Beiras, incorporating the Dão, with its distinctive reds, and Bairrada, producing solid, tannic reds, made almost exclusively from the Baga grape; Estremadura, home to light, quaffable and affordable wines; and Ribatejo, currently one of the country’s most exciting regions, with fruity, reasonably priced wines and the increasing presence of international grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Peninsula de Setúbal produces the fortified, sweet wine Setúbal (formerly Moscatel de Setúbal) and good red and white wines. South of Lisbon, Alentejo provides the world with cork and is beginning to make exciting red and white wines, using modern technology.