Portugal – Where Wine is Cheaper than Water

I’m connecting with you from our new home in Lagos – in southern Portugal. As you might know if you’ve been reading my last few blogs, Ron and I touched down in this land of enchantment with our visas about 7 weeks ago and are doing our best to get settled.

The learning curves have been steep… from how to work an ATM with our new Portuguese debit card (without knowing the language), getting our cell phone and internet service established (this is vital as it’s how I teach my online courses) and figuring out how to score some, ahem, Portuguese substances. With regard to that last item, after these few weeks of orienting ourselves, turns out it’s simply a matter of chatting up my 40-something (very cool) neighbor – more on that at another time.

A Learning Curve That’s a Slippery Slope 

One learning curve that we climbed with ease was drinking wine! But it’s a learning curve that’s a slippery slope to be sure. Wine is everywhere and as one of our new Portuguese friends observed, “In Portugal, wine is cheaper than water.

Shockingly, you can buy a bottle of (decent) wine for as little as 2.50 euros (that’s about $2.50). Actually, even less than that – American friends who’ve been living here for nearly a year, buy Portuguese boxed “green wine” for like .99 cents. And in a restaurant it’s usually cheaper to buy a full bottle of wine than a single glass. So, what the heck, right? Just buy the bottle.

0 thoughts on “Portugal – Where Wine is Cheaper than Water”

  1. Count me in! I believe the big difference is having it with meals (probably usually a family or social event) and without the cocktail add-on. Bonus: moderate wine drinking (2-3) glasses per day, can be good for digestion and overall health, especially when shared among friends/family. Cheers!

    • Funny, as someone pointed out in the FB posts citing CDC guidelines: heavy drinking is defined as consuming: For women, 8 or more drinks per week. For men, 15 or more drinks per week.

      Doing the math, the Portuguese cultural lifestyle (3 drinks x 7 days a week) would be 21!

  2. Excellent article Becca. Nothing like a cold glass of Vhino Verde with a meal. It’s refreshing and with their bread, you soak up the alcohol. No wonder they ranked a low #50. I never saw anyone walking around PT tipsy or drunk. Knowing what your body’s alcohol intake level is important to avoid overconsumption. Although, keeping a bottle or two on hand for entertaining and celebratory purposes is always nice and should suffice.

  3. I recently rented an apartment in Setubal and stayed for 3 weeks in Portugal. We had vinho verde with petiscos every single night.but I noticed that the alcohol content seemed lower. It could be because we always ate while drinking.

    I do think that Americans have somewhat puritanical attitudes toward wine but it’s been part of my dinner ritual for decades and I don’t see wine with dinner as a negative.

  4. During Salazar’s regime, wine at every meal was equally important as food. Most Portuguese families made their own wine every year. As you said, wine was more available and provided the much needed calories for the daily manual labor most Portuguese endured. It’s still true, to some extent, today.

    • Thanks for this thought-provoking point. If you have resources or a link that will offer insight into this issue would love to have you share!


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