Whilst the grapes from the Quinta do Tua property are taken to Malvedos to be vinified, there is a winery at Tua, which Graham’s uses to receive and vinify the grapes grown for us by 200 small farmers in the surrounding area.
For Tua, the harvest season began this year on the 14th September, and the last grapes were received on the 6th October. Now they just have the final fortifications and corrections to make and the winery team should be able to go home at last this weekend.
The majority of the farmers have small parcels in the Riba Longa area, a valley that runs north from the Douro just a little further upriver, which has an excellent microclimate, but some deliver their grapes from plots deep in the Douro Superior, around Vila Flor and Foz Côa, areas which tend to produce small harvests of grapes of great intensity and quality.
Paulo Macedo works most of the year for us as a viticulturalist, but during harvest he moves into the Quinta do Tua and makes the wines for Graham’s from all these small lots of grapes. It is an incredibly complex job juggling the deliveries and vinifications versus the space available in the winery, to ensure a consistent intake of grapes and production of quality wines. To the greatest extent possible, we try to vinify the lots separately, so that Charles can assess each lot and identify the blends he wants created throughout the course of the harvest, but the blending of lots is a critical part of the management of the space in this winery.
As at the Quinta dos Malvedos winery, every delivery is weighed in, though here the delivering truck is weighed before and after the grapes are unloaded, and meticulous records kept not only about the grape varieties and weight of delivery, but about each farmer and the property and parcel from which the grapes came. To help Paulo with all the record keeping Nuno Miranda comes up from our Gaia accounting office to take charge of the grape reception throughout the harvest delivery time.
At the end of the grape intake period, we had received 93,810 kg of white grapes, 1,169,930 kg of red grapes, and made 40 lotes of wine, totalling 2,300 pipas.
There is a staff of 14 in the winery, 7 on each of two 12-hour shifts, plus the year round property manager and tractorista. Getting a picture of the whole team was tricky, as lunch is the only time they are all awake and available for photo call together!