In a statement sent to Lusa news agency, CRVRA revealed that harvests have already started in the region and that, according to a forecast from the University of Porto, wine production this year should “reach 120 million litres”.

“The study predicts a production increase between 5 and 10 percent, compared to 2020,” they said.

According to CVRA president Francisco Mateus, this rise is due to “good weather conditions recorded” and “pest control”.

These two factors mean “that the grapes that will arrive at the wineries will be healthy and, therefore, have a greater probability of resulting in wines of excellent quality”, he explained.

The forecast by the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto on the estimated wine production in the Alentejo, in partnership with CVRA, is a regular procedure, every year.

“This is already the 22nd forecast” and “comes at a time when the grape harvests have just started”, the wine commission said.

In the Alentejo each year, the grape harvest starts “from south to north of the territory” and lasts an estimated “10 to 11 weeks”.

“The white grape varieties, most used in sparkling wines, are the first to be harvested,” CVRA indicated.

The Alentejo wine region produced 113 million litres of wine last year, a 15 percent increase on the previous year.

The Alentejo Regional Winegrowing Commission was created in 1989 and is responsible for protecting and defending the Controlled Designation of Origin (DOC) Alentejo and the Alentejo Geographical Indication.

Certification and control of origin and quality and promotion and fostering of sustainability are also competencies of the commission.

The Alentejo is the national leader in certified wines, with about 40 percent of the total value of sales out of 14 wine regions in Portugal, CVRA said.

With a vineyard area of 22,900 hectares, 30 percent of the wine produced is exported to five main destinations: Brazil, Angola, the United States, Poland and China.

The Alentejo is “one of only two regions in the world that has been producing Talha Wine for over two thousand years,” the CVRA noted, noting that region also promotes a pioneering initiative in the country, the Alentejo Wines Sustainability Programme.

This programme, which has already given rise to an unprecedented certification in Portugal, the Sustainable Production “seal”, aims to improve the practices used in vineyards and wineries, producing quality grapes and wine that is economically viable.