Harvest Life – The Winery Team

The next time you enjoy a glass of one of Graham’s Ports, please raise a toast to the Malvedos winery team, many of whom have been making your wines for the past decade or more.

Click into any photo to open it full size in a page and read more about each member of the winery team, as well as a few more people we couldn’t live without not only during harvest, but for their year round work in our vineyards:

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1 October Malvedos Winery Update

Today was a lovely fresh morning with blue sky and like yesterday it turned into a hot day. Out in the sun it feels much more like a summer’s day (ideal for the beach in fact) than autumn and the 1st of October.

This is perfect Vintage weather and we could not ask for better.

Vineyard update

More fabulous Franca in the winery today from the upper parcels at Malvedos

The pickers continued their way down the Quinta and finished the smaller parcels in the northwest part of the vineyards, although overall they picked slightly less as they were 3 down today (there was a christening in the nearby village of Tua today apparently).  Tomorrow we begin on the two larger block up there; however as it’s Sunday let’s see how it goes in terms of numbers of pickers.

The Franca we received today was again in excellent condition, and I must once more stress just how good the Franca is looking in 2011 with perfect ripeness in terms of flavour, colour and baumé.  It really doesn’t get better than this.

Winery Update

Vinhaço before breakfast

The vinhaço (marc) lorry arrived at 08:00 this morning which was a bracing start to the day!  The lads were obviously hungry and put their back into is, because all 6000 Kgs were loaded and the lorry left the winery in time for us to get to breakfast on time at 09:00.

It was a busy day in the winery today what with the vinhaço lorry, two fortifications (fortunately not too late!), and various wine transfers apart from the usual tractor loads of grapes.

The Franca lagar we filled today and have already trodden this evening has given 14º Baumé and I am very pleased that all the Franca lagares so far have given baumés of between 13.7º and 14º, as its not every year (in fact it only happens in very very good years) that this sort of ripeness is achieved.

James Symington (centre, white shirt), his son Rupert second to the right behind James and the rest of that branch of the Symington clan at winery today


James and Rupert are spending the weekend at Malvedos with their families and friends, and after breakfast they all came to visit the winery, dogs and all.  They were very interested in having a taste of the wines and all three generations gave their opinions regarding the quality of the 2011s, which I am glad to say was very favourable.

I also showed Rupert on the Quinta map what the picking order is for the rest of the Franca.

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30 September Malvedos Winery Update

Sun just coming over the hillside where we were picking the Franca at 8:30 this morning

Clear blue sky again this morning with just some high wisps of white cloud tinted red by the suns rays from the East.  A good sign!  During the morning some cloud did appear overhead but it was not rain threatening and in the afternoon blue sky returned and it became hot.

Vineyard update

At the end of picking yesterday we had picked 78% of the vineyard area, so we are now beginning the final stretch of the Vintage. Arlindo had a team of 23 today and they made good progress, picked a further 12,022 Kgs of perfectly mature and healthy Touriga Franca.

Starting at the blocks near the entrance to the Quinta, they then moved further up to block 86 and ended the day right at the top of the Quinta in blocks 2 and 3, at around 350 metres altitude (see map).

Winery Update

Franca in the lagar, the must showing deep colour before it has even been treaded

Last night there was a fortification at 04:50 and tonight there will be another around midnight which is not so bad.  Today we have all three lagares in use with the Malvedos Franca – one fermenting, one treading and one being filled. The colour of the Franca continues spectacular with every lagar we fill.

Otherwise it has been a normal day at the winery and business as usual.  After a couple weeks of harvest – right about now – there is a slight doldrum period, where the work is routine and seemingly endless, but in just a few days the end will come into sight and energy levels will pick up again.

Marta and Martin Symington (who is eyeing the lagares behind the cameraman)

Charles, his wife Marta and their son Martin came by on the way to Cockburn’s Quinta dos Canais in the Douro Superior this evening.  Charles and I tasted the three most recent Nacional wines he had not yet seen and he was very pleased with how they have turned out both in terms of their lifted black fruit aromas and their opaque purple colour.  We also reviewed the picking order of the remaining Franca blocks but this remains unchanged.

Martin was fascinated by the lagares and kept pointing at them – it runs in the family!

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