Though I spent last week mostly in the Douro for the harvest of a few selected parcels, I return today for the start of full-on harvest – all the Symington wineries will be opened, all the grapes will be picked across all their quintas.

Though I will be based at Quinta do Tua and blogging for Graham’s again, I will also be blogging on The Vintage Port Site, reporting on the harvest across all the Symington brands (Graham’s, Dow’s, Warre’s, Cockburn’s, Quinta do Vesuvio to name the most widely known).

The harvest period is such hard work for all concerned, personally I find it equally exhilarating and exhausting.  I love being outdoors basically from sunrise to sunset every day (being inside the wineries occasionally doesn’t feel “indoors” the way being in an office or in a city does) though I pay for it by having to be in the quinta office or house and on the internet very early mornings and late into the night to get the writing and posting done.

Still, it is worth it, and there are always moments, details, that refresh me when I am most exhausted.  Like looking down at the boots I bought two weeks ago because they were exactly the colour of 30 Year Old Tawny, and realising the Douro dust has made them indistinguishable from the old boots… or the ground…

Or watching five birds of prey gliding and circling on the breeze above Vilariça.  Or catching the magical moment when the rising sun crests the hill and the entire landscape around me changes in the light.

4 thoughts on “Harvest

  1. I grew up on a farm where harvesting the hay was always a major concern. A good harvest meant green, aromatic hay to give the horses every day throughout the winter, a rainy one meant dusty stuff that had to be shaken out of doors and drizzled with water to keep the horses from breathing in the dust. A well-timed harvest meant high nutrients, having to delay it waiting for better weather meant harvesting straw rather than hay. Now, imagining that when what you produce is wine and you actually earn your living from it!

    And the hard work – it’s much the same, I think. I always enjoyed the going all in for it during a few days and the satisfaction once it was over. There’s something special about farm work, the season and weather dependence and the close contact with the elements.

    As the rain is pouring down in Porto right now I’m worrying about the weather you’re getting up the Douro. I hope you and the wine are doing allright?

    • Hi Failbetter, couldn’t agree with you more. It’s the vineyards I love, more than the winemaking, and all the work that goes on, year round, tending the vines. The Marão mountain range breaks up the rain clouds so we don’t get the rain Porto does – up where I am we tend to get less than half! My morning began with a short thunderstorm around 4:30 am and we have had a few showers today which have been very welcome, and the heat has broken which was becoming a concern. The forecast for the week up here is for continued cool weather, and perhaps occasional showers, which should not be a problem for us after this incredibly dry year.

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