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In the middle of the Atlantic ocean lies a spectacular nine island archipelago called the Azores. This archipelago is one of two autonomous regions of Portugal, alongside Madeira. Three of the largest islands, Pico, Terceira, and Graciosa, make up the Vinho Regional dos Açores, or Azores wine region.

Pico island vineyards in the Azores

Pico island vineyards

The climate across the central islands is typically mild, and the geography offers a stunning mix of beaches and mountains. Most of the soil across the islands are volcanic, which combines with the climate to give Azores wine its vast range of aromas and consistencies. This volcanic soil is also what gives the Azorean vineyards it’s distinct flavor. The sediment provides much-needed nutrients that the grapes thrive off of, and helps the Pico vineyards to produce an abundance of delicious grapes.

Assorted antipasto wine tasting platter of cheeses, meats, peas, mushrooms, and potatoes.

Typical Azorean wine pairing platter

Winemakers on the island Pico meticulously grow their vineyards in “currais” (corrals). These currais are geometric squares, rectangles, or semi-circles separated by walls of stacked basalt stones. Winemakers use the currais to protect the vines from ocean winds, salt sprays, torrential rains, and even the occasional frost.

Most of the grapes grown in the Azores are white grapes and include the Azores Arinto, Verdelho, and Pico Terrantez grapes. These 3 wines in particular are considered the best wines in the Azores. We recommend trying these first before moving onto the other Azorean wines. If you’re looking for a classic Portuguese wine, we highly recommend starting with Port wine.