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Borba Terroir The Vineyards The climate

Borba Terroir

The quality and sensory profile of a wine is conditioned by the grape variety and also involves four main factors: the climate, the soil, the characteristics of the land – relief, exposure – and the techniques used in its production. These are the factors that, together, define the terroir of a certain region, and define what marks and differentiates its wines.

The Borba terroir is noteworthy for presenting a combination of the following factors:


The Borba subregion is marked by its medium altitude in being above 400m, comprising a plateau above the Alentejo peneplain which, together with the influence of the hills of Serra d'Ossa, generates its own unique microclimate.


Its average rainfall is significantly above the central Alentejo average, with its nights being cooler and mornings covered in dew, that combined with the many hours of sunshine and hot dry summers, typical of the Alentejo region, affect the vine’s growth cycle.


Predominantly situated on the limestone massif, locally known as the marble zone, the region’s soils are of the red calcareous type, surrounded by patches of red schist to the north and black red schist stones to the south. All with excellent capacity to store water and very well drained.


With a cultivation tradition dating back many centuries, it is natural that the people of the region experience the vines in all their dimension, accumulating techniques and know-how applied throughout the different generations that strongly influence the way that the vines are treated.

This terroir gives rise to “elegant” wines, given the combination of natural freshness, good structure, excellent aromatic profiles and alcohol content that is rarely excessive. These wines are characterised by their balance.

Área (Ha)
Percent. (%)
Borba 126857%
Vila Viçosa804%
Total geral2223
Parcels of vineyard from Adega de Borba associates
Plateau under solid marble called "Anticlinal de Estremoz"

The Vineyards

Adega de Borba currently has around 270 associated winegrowers, responsible for cultivating 2,220 hectares of vineyards.

The vineyard areas consist of about 70% red varieties and 30% white varieties.

  • The most representative red grape varieties are Aragonez, Trincadeira, Syrah, Alicante Bouschet and Castelão. Also present, among others, are the famous Touriga Nacional and Cabernet Sauvignon, Touriga Franca, Alfrocheiro, Petit Verdot and Tinta Caiada, out of a total of more than 20 grape varieties.
  • The most representative white grape varieties are Arinto, Roupeiro, Rabo d’Ovelha, Fernão Pires and Antão Vaz. Verdelho, Viognier, Alvarinho, Tamarez and Gouveio are also present, among others, out of a total of 17 grape varieties.

Most Representative White Grape Varieties

Probably the whitest variety with the greatest expression in the national territory, it produces wines with an excellent balance between alcohol and acidity.


It is the main white variety in Alentejo. This grape originates delicate, fresh, elegant wines with a citrus hue.

Rabo de Ovelha

This grape is spread throughout the country, especially in Alentejo, Ribatejo, and Estremadura. It originates citrus-colored wines, with discreet aromas, slightly fruity, balanced, with floral and vegetable notes.

Antão Vaz

This variety, only found in Alentejo, produces firm, structured, and full-bodied wines with exuberant aromas such as ripe tropical fruit notes.

Fernão Pires

It is one of the most planted varieties in Portugal, traditionally in the Tagus, Lisbon, and Bairrada regions. Its wines show a citrus color and balanced acidity, with aromas of lime, lemon, tangerine, among others.

Most representative Red Varieties

​​This is a noble variety, present all over Portugal. In Alentejo, the warm and dry climate helps to produce elegant wines with “nerves”. It shows up with aromas of wild berries and black plums.


Almost the entire territory of Portugal knows vineyards of this variety. The aroma of its wines is complex, bringing together black plum, vegetable notes, and pepper. On the palate, they are soft, elegant, and acidic.


Syrah is one of the most planted varieties in the world and found in Alentejo the perfect place to live. Aromatically, its wines resemble cocoa, or dark chocolate, black plums, and spices. They are soft and easy to please.

Alicante Bouschet

Although with a French name, it is a popular Alentejo variety. It generates complex wines in terms of smell, with aromas of wild berries, cocoa, olives, and herbs. It has firm tannins, is voluminous and generous when blended.


Castelão likes the south of Portugal, where the climate is warmer. The wines of this variety are dense red, soft, round flavor, with volume and pleasant acidity. In aromatic terms, the fruits of the forest dominate, especially the blackcurrant.

The climate

The Borba municipality lies in the heart of the Alto Alentejo, at an average altitude of 416 metres, on a plateau in the limestone massif of the North Alentejo, better known as the “marble area”.

This microclimate ensures rainfall rates that are slightly above average, as well as less significant levels of sunshine when compared to the other areas of the region. This reality contributes to the production of particularly fresh and elegant wines.

The soils

Borba is the the second-largest subregion of the wine-growing Alentejo, extending along the marble axis that joins Sousel to Alandroal, passing through Estremoz, Orada, Vila Viçosa, Rio de Moinhos, Borba, Arraiolos, Monforte and Elvas are also included in this sub-region.

Most of these areas have soils with unique substrate characterised by colossal marble deposits, which have had a decisive impact on the cultivation of vineyards and the quality of the region’s wines.

What is more, the extensive patches of red schist, heterogeneously distributed over poor austere land, constitute another of Borba’s striking characteristics, in what is one of the Alentejo’s most dynamic subregions.

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