After a cool morning, like yesterday it turned into a very hot day. As I write at 15:00 all I can say is I wish I was on the beach! In Oporto apparently many people were.
Although it’s Sunday, I was pleasantly surprised that we had 22 pickers (last Sunday we only had 16). The reason for this is because during all the previous Sundays they have managed to pick their own grapes and now would rather skip church and come to work this Sunday.
Today the Franca at the top of the Quinta was finished and they ended the day mid –way down with half of block 15 picked (see map). Nº 15 from experience is normally very good and gives almost a full lagar of grapes. Sorry to be boring but the Franca still looks and smells great!
Now we are in the final stretch with the end of picking in sight bets are being taken by the winery team on ‘when exactly’. Whoever gets closest to the day (it could be Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning) and the hour gets a dinner at the Calça Curta paid by the others. My own hunch is Wednesday at 12 o’clock.
It was another busy day, of much of the same at the winery, and the fact that it is Sunday was irrelevant to us, as all days are the same in terms of routine.
Charles stopped by in the afternoon for just 15 minutes on his way back to Pinhão and tasted the latest fortification, a Nacional / Franca lagar. He pronounced it “Very good” – again sorry to be boring but it is after all an excellent year!
We came back after dinner for a night shift as a lagar had to be transferred down for fortification in the winery below. Fortunately it was a relatively early night and we were all in bed by midnight – we all need the rest after 18 days!
This morning we received a group of 15 Belgian customers accompanied by João Vasconcelos. For that authentic Douro Harvest touch, Arlindo picked them up at the train station in the lorry we use to transport the picking team around the vineyards, which they thoroughly enjoyed. We gave them a tour of the winery and they were very interested in every step of the process, reception, the lagares, fortification and all. Afterwards they went up to the house where João gave them a tasting of our full range of wines, which they appreciated all the more for understanding just how they were made. After lunch at the Quinta they went downriver to Pinhão by boat.
Peter also dropped by with some friends and took the opportunity to have a taste of the latest wines. “Very good” he said – sorry to be boring again but … you can probably finish that sentence yourself by now!