Seeing a winemaking region in the throes of vintage is a really special experience. Over the years I’ve enjoyed many, although until earlier this year I’d never had the pleasure of being out in Oporto during it. The Douro is famed for its terraced vineyards, fortified wine and treading their grapes by foot in traditional stone treading tanks – lagares.
Vintage is the culmination of the year’s hard work where everything can be won and lost, timing is the key and a true understanding of all your vineyards is paramount to its success. Due to the steep terraced vineyards, everything is harvested by hand, so coordination is essential, seeing this first hand gave me a real buzz, the number of people involved was incredible. The work hard going and pretty much none stop. For once I was kinda glad to be on the outside but a part of me wanted to get stuck in!
As well as meeting the winemakers, growers, pickers and all the other people involved in key roles, tasting is obviously a vital part of the visit. So here are my notes for you to have a quick scan over.
I could go on and on but a picture conveys a thousand words or something like that, so here’s a few highlights covered in a storyboard…