Harvest Season – The “Vindimas”
The harvest season is one of the most coveted times of the year for wine lovers who like to visit the land. The vineyards, which are already beautiful throughout the year, take on a different life: vibrant colors and aromas, together with the several hundred tourists who travel to the Douro at this time to participate, among other activities, in the picking and treading of grapes.
Although there is no fixed date that marks the official start of the harvest, it is normal that it always starts in the second half of September. This will depend on several factors, the most important of which was the climatic behavior during the rest of the year and how it affected the growth of the grapes – the systematic control of the ripening of the grape determines the beginning of the season.
It is now that the farms can collect the fruits (literally!) Of the hard work they have done throughout the year to transport them in the famous and delicious wines of Douro and Porto.
Grape harvesting – the “vindimas”, in Portuguese – begins with the manual harvesting of the grapes, without any machinery that could damage the fruit and only with the help of pruning shears. They are then transported to the workers’ shores and deposited in large stone tanks (called lagares, in Portuguese).
The rest of the process is still done in the most artisanal way possible, using nothing less than the human foot. This is because the smoothness of the sole of the foot allows that, when the grape is crushed, the grape seed remains intact, so that later it can be completely removed. In this way, the wine tastes sweeter and prevents the bitter aftertaste from being added.
Although there are already places where you can find machinery that does this part of the service, replacing the tread of the foot with silicone presses that also prevent this from happening, you can expect that the Douro wines are still entirely handcrafted!
It is a lengthy process, but very pleasant to see and to participate: the workers embrace, in line, in a synchronized and effective way, to the sound of the music that marks their rhythm. The grapes are then crushed and left to ferment for a few days. Hence, the steps to be followed from each “house”, as these are part of their own secret recipe and will make their wines unique.
It takes immense hours of hard work (and often little sleep) spread over several days. But it is these hours that are responsible for the wonderful flavors that we are pleased and honored to experience.
There are several farms that have their own wine programs with special harvest options.
Interested in being part of this century-old tradition?
Get in touch with us, tell us the experience you want and leave the rest to us!