Douro Wine Company

The Douro Wine Company was founded by the Portuguese Prime Minister, the Marquis of Pombal, to bring more Portuguese control and oversight to the Port wine trade. The Douro Wine Company (also known as the General Company of Agriculture of the Wines of the Upper Douro and in Portuguese Companhia Geral da Agricultura e Vinhos do Alto Douro) was a government oversight organization established by the Portuguese Prime Minister Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, Marquis of Pombal to regulate the trade and production of Port wine. Established in 1756, one of the first official duties of the company was the delineation of the boundaries of the Douro wine region. This act essentially made the Douro the world's first regional appellation. While the boundaries of the Chianti and Tokaji wine regions were outlined in 1716 and 1737, respectively, neither of these regions were "technically" appellations in the sense of being subjected to continued government control and regulations. Under their charter, Pombal invested an immense amount of control in the Douro Wine Company to regulate all exports of Port, set production quantities limits, fix maximum and minimum prices for grapes and to serve as sole arbitrator in any disputes between vine growers and Port shippers. In 1761, the company was further granted a monopoly on the sale of brandy which was used in the fortification process of Port winemaking. The Douro Wine Company continued to operate to 1833 (and was briefly revived from 1843 and 1853). Today, many of it functions have been deregulated with the Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e do Porto or (Port and Douro Wines Institute) being the official regulating body of Port wine and Douro table wine production. Provided by Wikipedia
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