Graham’s maintains a steady programme of investment for the future, and the work of maintaining our vineyards is perhaps the most visible and continuous example.
Alexandre Mariz, Graham’s viticulturist, regularly visits both Quinta do Tua and Quinta dos Malvedos to work with our caseiro Arlindo who oversees the day to day work in both properties. Recently Alexandre toured the vineyards at Quinta do Tua to check on ongoing works on the new plantation, the drainage scheme and roadways, as well as the progress on other preparations for the new viticultural season.
In 2011 we took the decision to re-plant 5 hectares of vineyard at Quinta do Tua. The old plants and trellis system were removed last spring, and in August we began the work of carving the new patamares, or terraces, from 5 hectares of vineyard overlooking the Douro and the village of Tua. The landscaping work continued throughout the autumn and early winter, and is now complete.
As you can see from the photos particularly in the middle distance, where before we had very high terraces planted with a double row of vines, we have now created more, shorter terraces which we will plant this spring with a single row of vines. This arrangement will make it easier and safer for tractors to work within the vineyards throughout the year.
The new patamares have also been designed to manage drainage effectively. Each terrace is not actually level, but is slightly angled back into the hillside, so that when it rains the water will naturally flow to the back of the terrace, where it can soak into the ground. In addition, each terrace is gently arced so that if we have very heavy rains, excess water that cannot soak in will naturally run off along the back of the terrace to the terrace ends, where it will fall into a system of ditches and pipes along the roadways and ultimately be channeled out of the vineyard to the river.
This type of channeled drainage system is being created, or in some cases repaired, throughout the quinta. Alexandre took a walk following the line of newly installed drains from the heart of the vineyards down to the limit of the property to double check the works. He was very satisfied with the work so far and was able to focus on next steps in his conversation with Arlindo.