The seeds of a good vintage

While we wait patiently for the adega (winery) at Quinta dos Malvedos to open its doors this Thursday, the terraced vineyards continue to ripen under the watchful eyes of Graham’s experienced viticulturists. Of course, correct maturation is essential to a successful vintage and knowing when the grapes should be picked is fundamental to the production of great wine.

While an assortment of modern scientific techniques are nowadays employed to judge how ripe the grapes are, other more simple methods continue to be used, probably unchanged since man first began to cultivate the vine.

While judging the correct balance of sugar and acidity in the grapes by taste and an evaluation of the feel and outer colour of the grape are widely known methods of assessing maturation, the colour of a grapes seeds can also be used to gauge ripeness.

Quinta dos Malvedos
An unripe grape (right) with a more mature one (left), taken several days ago.

As a grape matures its seeds will gradually change from a light green to a dark brown or almost black colour and as such are a quick and easy way to determine if a certain variety is maturing well or not.

In the coming weeks regular posts will be published providing regular updates on this years harvest at Quinta dos Malvedos.