A Grape’s Journey: Vineyard to Winery

In our regular updates we mention various steps of the winemaking process, but we thought it would be useful to describe it in a continuous manner, to connect the dots for our readers.  Over the next few days we will put up a few posts which follow the grapes from the vine all the way to the tonel where the finished wine will rest for the winter.

From Vineyard to the Winery

The pickers start work at 07:00 and take a break from 09:00-09:30 for breakfast.   They then cut until lunch when they pause between 13:00-14:00.  They bring their own food and will choose a shady spot to eat.  After lunch they resume picking until 16:30.

They are divided into two teams, the pickers and the carriers.  For example of the 19 people working recently 16 (9 women and 7 men) were picking while 3 men were carrying.  The pickers cut the bunches into small buckets they carry with them and once these are full they are gently emptied into the 22Kg boxes that we receive at the winery.  The carriers go ahead of the pickers leaving empty boxes amongst the vines for the team to fill.  The carriers then stack the filled  boxes on the tractor carefully, making sure no grapes are crushed or bruised.  When full, the tractor then will bring the grapes to the winery.

Arlindo supervises all this and is with them all the time making sure that no grapes are left uncut, that the boxes are carefully handled at all times to avoid bruising the fruit, and when necessary moving everybody in his truck from one block to another within the Quinta.  In the vineyard, a pre-selection of the grapes also takes place and it is Arlindo’s job to make sure that only fruit in good condition makes it down to the winery – damaged or unripe fruit is cut and left where it falls – which is certainly an important step for the quality of the wines made.

Once the tractor is loaded (we have two, one that takes 92 boxes and the other 60) they come down to the winery.