This time yesterday (10th September) the last load of grapes from the first day’s harvesting at Quinta dos Malvedos were arriving to the adega (winery). Despite Wednesday (9th September) being overcast with a little drizzle, September has continued this summers’ trend of dry and slightly above average temperatures. The first day of the vintage was warm with blue skies and a light scattering of clouds, and as it was Port Wine day (which marks the demarcation of the Douro wine region on September 10th, 1756), it was a fitting date to begin this year’s harvest.
The first day’s objective was to fill and begin to ferment one lagar (approximately 10,000 litres) of mixed variety organic grapes from Malvedos’ higher altitude Sibio vineyards. To fill the lagar, the 24 strong roga (group of grape pickers) handpicked an impressive 11,400 kilograms by hand, and in doing so almost completely picked the 10-hectares of organic vines in one day. Henry Shotton, head winemaker at quinta dos Malvedos, complained that the only problem he had was that the grapes were arriving to the winery too quickly!
Planted in 1990, the Sibio vineyards contain some of the highest altitude vines on the property and were certified organic in 2014. Later this evening or early Saturday morning, the must from these vines will be fortified with organic brandy, making it the first time that organic Port will be made from the quinta’s own vines.
All the grapes looked in really fine condition coming into the winery and the Baumé reading from the lagar on Thursday evening was just over 13°. Pedro Leal da Costa, Symington Family Estates’ head of viticulture commented that this year all of the vines look really promising, and if the weather holds up, everything points to a Vintage year. Light rain has been forecast for Sunday however, but at this point we are not particularly worried about that.
Although we are still just at the beginning of what is always a few long weeks of very hard work in both the winery and the vineyards, everyone here is very optimistic that this will be a great year.
Over the next few weeks regular posts will be published providing regular updates on this years harvest at Quinta dos Malvedos.