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Setúbal Peninsula
and Vines
The viticulture of the Setúbal Peninsula can be found in almost every county of the region. With a total area of about 9,500 hectares, the municipality of Palmela is the largest wine area in the region, followed by the Montijo municipality, Setúbal municipality and finally the Sesimbra municipality. It's also important to mention the existence of another wine producing area that is just as significant, which corresponds to southernmost municipalities of the Setúbal district and includes Alcácer do Sal, Grândola, Santiago do Cacém and Sines.

Despite some differences in terrain, the viticulture of the Setúbal Peninsula is essentially homogeneous.

The majority of vineyards are located on flat plains, with the exception of the vineyards situated in the Arrábida mountains, where the canopy management is conducted at a lower vine height. The two most used types of trellis systems in the Peninsula are: the Cordon de Royat system in a bilateral ascending hedge in most vineyards, and the Gobelet system on old vines. 

On some of the existing old vines that are more than 40 years old, the strains were planted with a very tight spacing (1.3 x 1.3 meters) that was used at the time, because all of the work for tilling the soil was done by animal – pulled tractors. These vines were not wire-framed and the grape clusters are conducted in a free form often close to the ground. Currently, all the work performed in these vineyards is manual. However, most vineyards in the region have been planted in rows with larger spacings, ranging from 2.5 to 3 meters between rows and 1 to 1.2 meters between each vine in a row, with a wireframe palisade ascending, providing a light gathering which enables excellent maturation and production of top quality grapes.

The replanting and reconversion of vineyards has been the practice in recent years, driven by the growing necessity for mechanized work. The planting of vines has increasingly been resorting to ready-grafts and the selection of plants from traditional varietals with potential productivity both in quality and in quantity, as well as new varietals that enable wine making of outstanding quality.

The irrigation of the vineyards is essential to this region for good installation of the vines as well as stabilization and homogenization of the production. Due to the hot and dry climate in the summer and the low water retention of the soil, watering is essential for obtaining good yields, both in quantity and quality. The most common type of irrigation used is the drop by drop, being performed in the majority of the region, resulting in stable production and maturation of the grapes until the optimal harvest date.

The viticulture in this region has evolved considerably in the last years. It has fueled producers to obtain high quality grapes that are economically viable and environmentally sustainable to enable the production of wines with a singular quality to price ratio.





Figure 1 – Distribution of Setúbal Peninsula's red grapes.
Within the red varietals, the result is clear: the Castelão dominats, in relation to cultivated vineyards and certified by CVRPS, registering 75,8%.





Figure 2 – Distribution of Setúbal Peninsula's white grapes.
There is a predominance of Fernão Pires (39,5%) and Antão Vaz (41,5%) grapes, when accounting the vineyards registed in the Regional Wine Comission.