Yesterday saw the Symington running team take part in the first edition of the Great Douro Vineyard Run. Formed by members from diverse areas of the company, Symington Family Estates won first place in the team event and saw every member placing highly, with second place in the women’s race going to Mariana Ameixieira, and third in the men’s to Pedro Silva, the team’s invaluable trainer.
The event, which was one of the first of its kind in the Douro, saw almost 300 runners compete in a gruelling trail half marathon through some of the most beautiful vineyards of the Douro. From the starting line on the banks of the Douro in Pinhão, the course rose and fell through the vineyards of Quintas Junco, Cavadinha, Terra Feita, Cruzeiro, Noval, Bomfim and finally Roeda, before crossing the finish line on the riverfront in Pinhão.
The half marathon was also accompanied by a 12km walk, which saw almost 1000 participants take part.
With high temperatures and a total elevation gain of 1000m, the race was not easy, but the determination of the 10-man team from Symington Family Estates, and the support of everyone at Quinta do Bomfim and Quinta da Cavadinha, meant a great overall result. Congratulations to all involved!
Flowering in the Douro vineyards usually occurs around the middle of the month of May, approximately two months after bud-break. This year flowering was up to 10 days later than last year in most of our vineyards, on account of the unusually wet and cool conditions of this spring. After the embryo bunches begin to flower, pollination is triggered almost immediately and is followed by fertilization, resulting in the formation of tiny berries. Fruit set, involving the rapid transformation of the embryo bunches into small clusters of green, pea-like berries, follows on quite swiftly from flowering. The berries gradually expand and ultimately become grapes.
The vine continues with its vegetative growth although at this stage there is a gradual slowing down of the vigour of the growing tips in favour of the developing bunches. Further canopy management is required at about the same time as flowering, namely guiding the shoots upwards through the twin wires of the trellis known as the foliage wires. This entirely manual operation is known as shoot positioning and ensures a good layout of the vine canopy in order to facilitate ongoing operations in the vineyard as well as helping to prevent vine diseases.