The past two weeks at Graham’s Quinta dos Malvedos and Quinta do Tua have been good for the vines – mostly sunny and warm, with temperatures of 30ºC or more most days, according to our viticulturist Alexandre Mariz. Importantly, after the showers of April and early May there have been no significant signs of oidium or mildew; the extraordinarily dry conditions this winter may have done us one small favour in killing off (at least for now) these two funguses which live and linger in the vines in humid conditions.
As you can see from the photo above, our Touriga Franca vine has put on leaf and fills the space between the lowest and middle wires of the trellis, and is beginning to fill the space up to the upper wire. We will be starting the next round of shoot thinning shortly.
The flowering finished during these weeks under very good conditions. It is noticeable that the flowering occurred over an extended period, so at this moment the infant grapes are all different sizes – the grapes on the Touriga Franca we have been tracking since late March at Malvedos are still quite tiny, and the bunches still have some dried flowers remaining. On the next lower terrace in the same plantation of Touriga Franca, another vine has comparatively quite large grapes formed. Alexandre assures us this will naturally even out in the coming weeks.
We have finished the job of tearing out the old vines and posts from three hectares of Tinta Roriz at Malvedos. The hillside looks oddly bare and featureless right now compared with the the terraces above and below which are clearly defined by lines of increasingly green lush vines. The work of bulldozing and re-sculpting the new vineyard will start probably late June or early July.
We stopped into the Malvedos adega for a look around. All during harvest the winery team were teasing the blogger about bats, but we only rarely saw one or two outside in the flood light. On this visit, around noon, we let ourselves into the adega, and when we were on the walkway above the fortification tanks and turned on the light, we disturbed a small colony that had been roosting in the rafters! Alexandre assures me their presence is another good sign of the health and natural equilibrium in our vineyards. It was hard to focus on that while they were dive-bombing me and squeaking madly. Sadly, they eluded the camera. Maybe next time.
Finally, the view to the east across Quinta do Tua continues to get greener and greener with every visit. On a clear day, the vista ends at the last west-facing hillside at the bend in the river just before the Valeira Dam, which is 10 km away by river.
So far, so good!