Picking began at Mavedos this morning with a team of 27 pickers led by the caseiro Arlindo. Following a tour of the vineyards with Charles it was decided that we would begin with the Tinta Barroca, as is the norm most years, because this is usually the first variety to reach maturity. In the vineyards the grapes tasted sweet and flavoursome and the skins were soft, staining one’s fingers red when squeezed. The roga (picking team) began picking block 92 in the higher reaches in the eastern part of the Quinta.
The Barroca grapes were looking very healthy on arrival at the winery, although yields judging from today’s picking seem likely to be on the low side. 10,994 Kilos were picked today, just filling the first lagar which is now in its second hour of treading as I write. The colour is looking good at this early stage of treading which is always a good sign.
The winery team this year is delighted to welcome fifth generation Symingtons Harry, who will be with us for the duration, and Tom, who has joined us for the first week of the Vintage before going back to London to work for family-owned wine merchants Berry Brothers & Rudd for a stint. More about each of them soon.
As usual the first day of the Vintage can be rather stressful and 2012 has been no exception. Machinery which has been lying idle most of the year and is suddenly called on to work non-stop all day can be prone to breaking down. We had to call in David Fernandes, our Mr Fix It, who arrived in the afternoon to look at a small leak that had appeared in Lagar Nº1, solder a piece that had come loose on our selection carpet and fix a faulty pump.
However, a hearty lunch cooked by Dona Sonia in Tua is always enough to relieve the pressures of the first day.
In the afternoon we received the first of no doubt many visitors, a group of Dutch clients accompanied by Euan Mackay and Pedro Leite. After viewing the modern lagars at Malvedos, they were on their way to do some good old fashioned foot treading in the granite lagares at Quinta do Vesuvio.
More Barroca tomorrow.