Demarcated in 1756, Douro Valley is the world’s oldest wine region. Man has played an important role in shaping this once untouched landscape into a fertile UNESCO World Heritage Site where some of the best wine and the only true Porto in the world is produced. Vintage ’59 Imports’ Portuguese producer Quinta do Tedo is located here.
Man is not alone to thank for the high quality of agricultural products that come out of this region. Spring wildflowers bring the steep cliffs, wild and rocky shrub lands, stone-terraced vineyards and olive orchards, and century-old Quintas lining the snake-like Douro River to life in hues of green, red, yellow, white and purple. Besides being beautiful, wildflowers also play an important role in the agricultural productivity of Douro Valley, especially in the vineyards. For example, honeysuckle and gum rockrose within a 50-meter radius of Quinta do Tedo’s vineyards, attract good “auxiliary fauna” (such as ladybugs) which prey on bad, disease-carrying pests (such as the berry moth, which decreases yield and can cause grey mold in vineyards). Wild lavender is a natural pest repellent (and the national flower of Portugal!) Lupine, vetch and other leguminous (pea family) plants absorb and turn atmospheric nitrogen into a usable form, ammonia, which is stored in the soil and can be used by other plants.
Pictured above is European yellow lupine, a “nitrogen-fixing” soil enricher.
To learn more about wildflowers in the Douro Valley, read Kay’s Blog from Quinta do Tedo (from which the above was taken).