The grapes at Quinta do Tedo are hand picked. Traditional chestnut baskets that hold up to 90 pounds are used, which allow the grapes to aerate en route to our winery in the 95ºF to 110ºF (35ºC to 40ºC) temperatures. The clusters are immediately poured into a stainless steel de-stemmer. We remove 100% of the stems to avoid all herbaceous character from the green, astringent tannins. We believe that tannin should only come from the berry. The remaining pomace is then poured directly into the lagar.
The lagar is an open fermentation tank made of stone. Two and a half feet deep, it holds 8 to 12 pipas, which is 1,200 to 1,800 gallons, or 4,400 to 6,600 liters. As the lagar fills we immediately start to crush by foot during maceration and fermentation.
Depending on the year, the quality of the grapes, which parcel the grapes came from, and the final choice as to what style of Porto the harvest merits (our Vintage, LBV, or Finest Reserve) we decide the time of foot work per lagar, the residual sugar for the sweetness, the amount of distilled alcohol we will add to fortify the wine, and the number of pressings we will do. After tasting and analyzing the wine we then confirm these decisions.
The new Porto is stored for a couple of weeks in neutral tanks before being racked, then aged in French oak barrels and tanks of 60 gallons (225 liters), 150 gallons (550 liters) and 1,870 gallons (7,000 liters). The size of the storage vessel depends on whether we are making the Vintage, LBV, or Finest Reserve.