European Wine City
From left: Albufeira Mayor José Carlos Rolo, Lagoa Mayor Luís Encarnação and Silves Mayor Rosa Palma. Lagos Mayor Hugo Pereira was not in attendance (Photo: BRUNO FILIPE PIRES/OPEN MEDIA GROUP)

Algarve towns launch joint bid for European Wine City

Albufeira, Lagoa, Lagos and Silves present ‘Algarve Golden Terroir’

The Algarve boroughs of Albufeira, Lagoa, Lagos and Silves presented a joint bid for the title of European Wine City 2023 at the BTL tourism fair in Lisbon on Thursday (March 17). The title is awarded by the European Network of Wine Cities (RECEVIN).

The boroughs, which are applying as part of the Association of Portuguese Wine Municipalities (AMPB), say their ‘Algarve Golden Terroir’ bid will represent “the whole Algarve, from the mountains to the sea”. The idea for these four boroughs to team up had been in the pipeline for two years.

“We think that wine is a complement to tourism, a crucial sector that is becoming more important to our economy,” said Albufeira Mayor José Carlos Rolo, adding that it also serves as an attraction during the so-called low season.

While he recognises that the Algarve’s sun and beaches must continue to play a key role in the region’s tourism pitch, the Albufeira Mayor also said “we have to be innovative and more interesting to those who visit us”.

European Wine City
A toast to the ‘Algarve Golden Terroir’ bid (Photo: CM de LAGOA)

Lagoa Mayor Luís Encarnação said the goal of the bid is to “pay tribute to the extraordinary work that is being done by our winemakers” to elevate the quality of Algarve wines.

“We want to bring to the Algarve a distinction that RECEVIN awards to emerging regions, those that truly want to develop such an important product like wine tourism,” said Encarnação.

“We believe it is a product that can be valued year-round and will help mitigate the effects of seasonality.

“I feel confident that we will be able to bring this important distinction to the Algarve, thanks to everything that Lagoa, Albufeira, Lagos and Silves, and the whole Algarve, have to offer – excellent wines, unique gastronomy, our beaches, a tradition for knowing how to make visitors feel welcome and a great capacity to organise events such as this one,” Encarnação said.

While the Algarve has already built up a reputation for being a top tourism destination in Portugal and abroad, this bid will recognise the region’s unique traits as a winemaking destination, said Silves Mayor Rosa Palma.

Everything from the Algarve’s soil and climate to its geography gives its wines their own unique qualities, the mayor added.

“It is the DNA of our wine. But there’s more. Human input is, of course, needed and our winemakers know how to make the most of their vines to produce grapes with an amazing result. That is what we want to promote and allow others to experience,” Palma said.

While Lagos Mayor Hugo Pereira was not in attendance at the official presentation, Lagos Council also commented on the joint bid in a statement to the press.

“With a territory and climate that are ideal for wine production, Lagos has award-winning winemakers, many of whom use sustainable production methods, meaning this bid will have a huge positive impact on both the Algarve and our borough as wine producing areas,” the council said.