We continue in these tough and challenging times to renew our Douro vineyards with plantings of the finest grape varietals. This is a clear reflection of our commitment to the Douro and to its wines. This year 9,2 hectares of new vineyards are being planted as we write this text: 4,7 hectares at Graham’s Quinta do Tua and 4,5 hectares at Graham’s Quinta das Lages. This follows on the vineyard replanting that we completed in 2009 at our estates in the Douro and is all part of our long-term investment program to continually improve the quality of our wines. Unless we renew a part of our vineyard every year, we will eventually end up with a vineyard so ancient that we have virtually no yields at all. Old vines are marvellous, but even they eventually need to be re-planted. No vine lives for ever! Just to put this re-planting in context, we are re-planting this year under 2% of our total vineyard in the Douro. This is expensive in the steep Douro geography, but it is essential for the long-term future quality of our Port and our DOC wines.
It is worth noting that this year’s plantings will only begin to produce great wines in some 8 to 10 years at the earliest. We are planting for future generations, not for next year or even for the year after that. This year’s new plantings include 9,000 vines of Touriga Nacional, one of the finest grape varieties for Port wine. It is very low yielding and difficult to grow but offers the darkest colour and greatest concentration of any Douro variety, being intensely aromatic (violets and rockrose) with superb complex fruit and exceptionally firm tannins.
The heavy winter rains have slowed our work in our vineyards, but the young vines will enjoy the wet soils once the spring and summer come and we may not have to do so much watering, usually an absolute necessity for the baby vines when the
Douro heat comes.