Although Portugal is a small country, climatic diversity is dramatic. The major factor that influenced the climate is the Atlantic Ocean. This sweeps in from the West creating a maritime climate with warm summers and cool, wet winter. This climate is most notable in Estremadura, Ribatejano, Terras do Sado and Vinho Verde. In contrast further inland the regions of Douro, Dao, Alentejo are hot and dry. These factors partly account for the large array of wine styles and grape varieties.
Although the native grape varieties in Portugal are immense, demarcation has ensured on selected varieties are allowed and quality is kept high. Similar to other regions in the European Union Portugal has four different levels. Denominacao de Origem Controlada (DOC) is the highest standard, Indicacao de Proveniencia Regulamentada (IPR), Vinho regional, and Vinho de mesa - as the lowest standard. Due to stricter legislation all DOC wines are now identified by a paper seal around the neck.
Portugal's most famous wine would be Port. This fortified wine is found solely in the Douro Valley outside Oporto. The region is defined by a deep ravine that protects it from the Atlantic weather and baked in sun. This puts strain on the vines promoting low yields and high quality fruit. The shippers only declare a vintage on years of exceptional quality which is an aspect that has cemented ports reputation for longevity and consistency.