This morning Graham’s began to harvest the Touriga Nacional in perfect conditions – clear deep blue skies, only a few wisps of cloud, and comfortably cool air with brilliant sun.
As is usual, we are beginning the harvest with the parcels nearest the river and will work our way up the quinta hillsides, both at Tua and Malvedos, over the course of the next five days or so. First stop this morning: a small parcel near the river at Quinta do Tua, which lies between the road and the railway line.
The workers cut the bunches carefully and drop them gently into small buckets which they can easily carry, discarding any grapes that are not of top quality. These buckets are then emptied – again very gently – into the plastic crates which are set out along the rows by a team who work just on the crate distribution and collection. The point of this procedure is to keep the grapes intact all the way from vine to winery sorting carpet. If the grapes were to be crushed whilst still in the vineyard, they could start fermenting in the hot sun, which is not what we want, of course.
The team should finish this parcel this morning and will then move on to the lower parcels at Quinta dos Malvedos. Henry is not going to have another slow day in the winery for at least a week.
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