> Viticulture and Wine making

The Port Wine is one of the Portuguese ambassadors outside the country. The Douro demarcated region (DDR) is the oldest demarcated region of the world and its origin dates back to 1756. Over time the farmer from Douro has planted the vineyards in terraces supported by walls of shale, adding up to the natural beauty of the region and contributing to the recognition by UNESCO of the Alto Douro wine region as World Heritage.

Viticulture stands out in the Douro region, mainly in the counties belonging to the demarcated Douro region. It is the agri-food industry with greater expression in the region, since the production of grapes is made in a vast area and holds a significant production volume, while a significant part of the packaging, labelling and distribution is made in Porto, especially in what concerns the wine with the same name, Port Wine, which constitutes the majority of the wine production. But this scenario has been changing, especially with the creation of a trading post in the Douro and with the relative liberalisation of the market, as well as by the decisive bet on high-quality table wines. It is clear that there has been a significant improvement in the quality of table wines produced in the region, and that fact allied with its tradition, has provided an excellent national and international market penetration. Overall, its sales volume has increased in recent years, with only a few little significant declines when the consumer markets have periods of lower growth.

With regard to the types of wine sold there is a growing increase of the importance of Port Wine of special categories, including “Vintage”, “LBV”, “Colheita (Date of Harvest)”, “Indication of Age”, “Vintage Character” or “Light Dry”. The difference in price between the wines of special categories and the current wines especially “Ruby” and “Tawny” is substantial.

The main markets of Port wine are France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom, in order of importance. The countries of the European Union absorb about 90% of the sales volume. However, the US has taken on an increasingly important role, being the sixth consumer market in terms of volume, because the type of wine consumed is mostly of special categories and consequently of high price and marketing value.

Under these conditions, the business opportunities related to the viticulture and wine making sector focus on:

-The acquisition of farms producing Port Wine and Douro DOC

-The development of businesses in the production chain -processing- marketing, offered by the opening of the sector. These perspectives are focused mainly on the possibility of extending the internal and external markets through:
  - the creation of service companies related to the packaging, marketing, design and internationalization of the product.
  - the creation of companies to use/treat by-products of the Port Wine production chain, supported by the research industry installed in the region.

> Fresh fruit

The fruit is a sector that has shown great dynamism in recent years. Cooperatives and private companies sell the fruit production, mainly the apple, to central purchasing organizations or for the supply markets of the North and centre of the country, as well as to producers with large storage capacity and especially cold storage capacity.

This production has been experiencing a significant growth over the last two decades, as a result of the plantings carried out during this period.

The main business opportunity related to the fruit sector is the creation of a company to take advantage of the fruit waste (scrap) produced in the region, for the production of juices, jams, and other products derived from fruit-growing.

> Dried fruits

When it comes to the dried fruit sector, the region has a great tradition in its production, assuming the national leadership in terms of cultivated areas and production. Among the dried fruits, we must highlight the chestnuts and the almonds due to the importance of their production.

We should also point out that the quality of these products led to their certification process, and nowadays they are designated and identified as DOP products. These productions greatly affect the producers’ incomes, but the wholesale is still very common essentially to foreign companies, for further processing. This, once again, makes this sector attractive for investments in the processing and marketing of chestnut since its region of origin.