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The New York Times calls the Alentejo one of the 52 Places for a Changed World

The New York Times has declared that the Alentejo is one of the 52 Places for a Changed World, a list that highlights places around the globe where travelers can be part of a solution. The piece points to the sustainable wine movement in the region, where sheep help clear wine fields, and water is used sparingly. 


This comes just a few weeks after Condé Nast Traveler named the Alentejo as "one the Best Destinations in the World for 2022.” And, with its rolling cork forests, long Atlantic coast, and vast blue skies — the Alentejo is emerging as the place people go to reconnect and appreciate life.

The Wines of Alentejo Sustainability Program was established by the local wine board back in 2014 - the first such program of its kind in Portugal. It has grown to include 425 wineries. And almost 50% of Alentejo vineyard land. The "Sustainably Produced” moniker is awarded to wines that are balanced in their growth, and their taste. This is vital in a relatively dry region, one where the environment is closely tied to the way of life. The New York Times put it this way: By prioritizing water conservation, with measures like developing cover crops for water retention and creating ponds to collect rainwater, the program has helped wineries reduce their average water consumption by 20 percent; some that were using 14 liters of water to produce 1 liter of wine have decreased their needs to 6 liters of water.

The Alentejo is Portugal’s wine country and  centuries of tradition mix with the latest tech to produce world-class wine. The region’s vineyards are very productive due to the warm summer temperatures and abundance of sun, plus the wisdom of local winemakers creates unique varieties ranging from light white wines to bold reds. There are 8 sub-regions of Alentejo wine, including the enchanting towns of Évora, Moura, Portalegre, and Redondo.  Different microclimates and the moderating coast influence led to a wide array of wines. And the grape varieties are almost all distinct to the region.  They include Abundante, Alfrocheiro Preto, Alicante Bouschet, Antão Vaz, Arinto, Diagalves, Fernão Pires, Manteudo, Moreto, Palomino, Periquita, Rabo de Ovelha, and Trincadeira.

The ‘montados’ cork forests of the Alentejo embrace its many wine lands — and act as home to rare species of plants and animals. The cork oak is the key to the Alentejo’s living landscape.  Here cork trees extend for miles and each tree plays a vital role in a balanced ecosystem. Their bark is harvested every nine years, and a tree can live for centuries. The cork trees provide food for animals, which allows for the preservation of native species and the continued use of ancient herding techniques. And, the shade of the montados offers a unique place to sit back and enjoy the view of vineyards and olive groves.

In the Alentejo wine has been cultivated for millennia, and you can experience its creation today and learn from local winemakers. During the grape harvest, running from late August into September, many wineries and farms offer harvesting experience, grape stomping and cellar tours. The Alentejo Wine Route is the perfect planning tool to find and experience new wines.

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