Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Wine Chronicles | It's Harvest Time!

The harvest is one of the most special times of the year for the wineries and, this year, I had the opportunity to participate, and just love it! Well, it wasn't the real deal, all day under the sun, picking grapes and taking the heavy buckets to the wagon. It was a (very) light version of it, in the right amount to make it totally enjoyable and fun.

Now, all you wine lovers that are reading this, pay attention: 2017 is going to be an exceptional year for Portuguese wine! Although the extraordinary climate conditions have made the harvest start 2 to 3 weeks in advance, due to the early warm weather that hit the country this Spring and to the very hot and dry Summer that we had, the quality of the wine only seems to be enhanced by that, and I can hardly expect to taste 2017 wines.

The day started with the grape picking, and everybody, armed with a bucket and a pair of scissors walked along its own line of vines, picking the ripe grapes while trying not to shop off their fingers. Must proudly say that we all city folks manage to survive our time of harvesting with no major injuries.

But after filling a couple of buckets, there is still much to do before your bottle of wine arrives at the table. Buckets must be carried and dumped into the to the wagon that will take it to the winery. Must thank Pedro that made all the hard work for me, while I was photographing. At the winery, the grapes must be crushed (yes, with our feet!), a process that takes several days. The crushed grapes go to this concrete deposits to ferment and later the wine will go to the barrels. Getting the wine into the bottles, it will take some time, so I must be patient and wait for a while before I can take a sip of some 2017 wine.

By now, most of the estates have finished the harvest, but if you're interested in having a similar experience, you better check if there is still something going on, or make your plans for next year. Many wineries of the various Portuguese wine regions have harvest days on their wine tourism programs. I was invited by Horácio Simões winery and spend a delightful morning with them at their Palmela estate. The Setúbal's Península Wine Region has many wineries that you can visit for the harvest time, and if you are a visitor to Lisbon, this can be a very convenient choice for the short distance to the Portuguese capital.

Casa Agrícola Horácio Simões
Rua João de Deus, 10
2950-731, Quinta do Anjo, Palmela
Phone:  +351 212 870 500
Mobile: +351 938 442 319

For other options in Setúbal's Peninsula Wine Region, please contact

Casa Mãe da Rota de Vinhos
Largo de Sao Joao Baptista
2950-248 Palmela
Phone: +351 212 334 398

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