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One of many vineyards

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One of Many Vineyards

Pico's main industries over the years have been wine and whaling and now of course tourism. Because the island is essentially a pile of basalt (lava rock) growing anything was a real task. They used the basalt stones to create barriers to protect the growing plants from the wind as seen here and these walls go on for miles. Some of the walls are hundreds of years old. The plants are a low growing vine. Verdelho, one of three traditional plants grown there and the most famous was wiped out by powdery mildew around 1850. It was replaced with resistant hybrids from America but other plant diseases in the late 1800s nearly wiped out the industry. Today Pico makes some of the best Portuguese wine Verdelho is making a comeback.