"Weather cycle normal" = 3 months of winter and 9 months of inferno!

Parcel Frente da Quinta with thriving Touriga Nacional,   Touriga Franca, Sousão vines. According to winemaker Jorge "weather cycle normal" so far for 2014, as I inquired about the 3 July rainfall of a whopping 4.3 cm/1.75 in when the average for July is 1.2 cm/½ in for the whole month.  Could this support the climatic changes in the Douro region, as in the rest of the world?  Perhaps the extreme rain on this one day, but so far precipitation and temperature are within 30-year average parameters.

Hard work to repair walls.

Filling in with smaller rocks for strengthening walls.

Our walls average 1 m deep x 2 m high.

All the same, there are walls to repair; impossible to hold the rain’s hammering intensity on 1 day.  Portuguese tradition says "the more you lose walls the more wine you will make", at least that is comforting.  Every year there are walls to repair, we have 4 km/2.4 miles total of traditional dry walls on our property of 14 hectares/34 acres, and this is a good time to repair.  The soil is dry and light and consequently easier to work.  The jugs of fresh diluted wine,  nestled in the soil, are always helpful to the workers.

2012 - before planting.

2014 = 2 years after planting.

The 3.22 hectares/8 acres of replanted vineyards are thriving after the 2012 planting.  Here are photos of  2012 and 2014.  As much as we wanted to maintain the old vines, they were just not producing – due to age and the more rock vs less soil in thèse terraced vineyards.

Tinta Franca - photo taken 20 July

Too early to predict 2014’s quality, the grapes are turning color and are healthy and following the normal ripening phase.  Vincent tells me that according to vigneron tradition "the hidden quality of the coming harvest is always better than the previous one" - is that a Burgundian saying?  Towards the end of August, when we sample on a daily basis for sugar content, is when we can confidently predict the quality of the approaching harvest.

All roads lead to Quinta do Tedo!

This marks the first year that I can spend more time at the quinta, instead of a month here and there. I am now an "empty nester", as my 3 children are off to their post-highschool studies. The Quinta, the Douro region and Portugal continue to captivate me.  Seems to captivate others as well, as evidenced by the visitors at the quinta, enjoying the dramatic beauty and traditions of the Douro and, of course, the quality port, Douro Doc wine and olive oil that Quinta do Tedo produces.