The Douro is the European City of Wine in 2023, with dozens of initiatives planned throughout the year to highlight the region throughout Europe, to promote wine tourism, culture, heritage, and wine according to the Douro Intermunicipal Community (CIM Douro).

“All Around Wine, All Around Douro” is the motto of Douro’s candidacy for the 2023 European Wine City, and this award, won in June, in Brussels, is, according to CIM, “one of the most important in the history of the region”, which has been a World Heritage site since 2001.

The city of Peso da Régua had already tried for the title in 2018 and that experience resulted in a regional candidacy, which involved the different agents of the Douro. CIM Douro said that “dozens of initiatives are planned throughout the year” to show the territory to Europe, as is the case of the presentation gala of the Douro European City of Wine, on February 4, in Lamego.

“The Douro Heritage of Humanity will thus be a European reference in wine, vineyards, culture, and the harmonious celebration of nature and the secular work carried out by generations of Douro residents”, said the inter-municipal community. In fact, he stressed, it is “regarded as one of the greatest collective challenges that the Douro has ever taken on throughout its history, materialising the desire and pulse of an entire region”.

“With this distinction as European City of Wine 2023, the Douro cherishes the legitimate desire for the region to be a major contributor to national exports, to make wine and vineyards a concrete and real lever for the development of its economy and the wealth of those who those who live and work here”.

Taking on the challenge

According to CIM, the 19 mayors are “prepared to take on the challenge” of the Douro European Wine City 2023, “together with local and regional entities and around 22,000 producers, assuming the urgency of valuing the product and building a balanced and sustainable region”.

“Opening the Douro to the world is also another purpose of this application. The Douro region, for decades on end, focused only on wine production. Today, the Douro, a territory of charismatic landscapes with soul and attitude, with its pleasant navigable river, has the legitimate ambition of bringing the world to the Douro", stressed the inter-municipal community. “And it will be this discovery of the Douro, this experience of the Douro in situ that will generate added value for what we produce, for what we create here, for our wine, for our vineyard, for our people”.

This is, for CIM, “an opportunity to promote wine tourism, culture, and heritage” and highlight “wine as a strategic element and essence of economic activity”.

CIM Douro comprises the municipalities of Alijó, Armamar, Carrazeda de Ansiães, Freixo de Espada à Cinta, Lamego, Mesão Frio, Moimenta da Beira, Murça, Penedono, Peso da Régua, Sabrosa, Santa Marta de Penaguião, São João da Pesqueira, Sernancelhe, Tabuaço, Tarouca, Torre de Moncorvo, Vila Nova de Foz Coa and Vila Real.

The European Wine City is an annual competition launched by the European Network of Wine Cities (RECEVIN) in 2012, and aims to promote tourism and publicise the European wine-producing regions.

RECEVIN has the support of national wine associations present in most of the 11 member countries of the network – Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Spain, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, and Serbia.