"9 months of winter and 3 months of hell” is a Douro Valley saying. Rightly so. In the winter months the temperature falls below 0 C and in the summer months 40+ C is not uncommon. Rain can come in buckets, and the wind can be fierce. Douro Valley is a place of intense, and at times, harsh weather. Luckily the grape vines have extensive roots systems that reach deep down through the crevices of schist subsoil to obtain moisture - self preservation!
2017 to date has proven to be warmer by several C / 5+ F degrees. Precipitation to date is about 50% normal, 25 cm / 9 " vs 47 cm / 18 " average; the rainy months are considered over. During my late April visit to Quinta do Tedo, the vineyards were looking especially healthy, the challenge will come later in the summer with the intense heat. Even our vineyard manager, Joachim, with a twinkle in his eye as we were driving along the bumpy Tedo river road, made an unusual comforting comment - that the vines were “boa” (beautiful)! Winemaker Jorge adds that thus far “the vines are healthy, with a medium vigor and a good amount of grapes”.
A passionate hiker, I take many walks when I am at Tedo. Our property has numerous bird watching trails, historical feitoria trails, and just great walks to take, often in the company of our 3 dogs. In April I was especially impressed by the grape vines and olives and almond trees' healthy appearances. The grape vines are one example, but the olive trees seemed to have a riot of blossoms, looking like a flowering specimen tree that one would see in a botanical garden! Only 10% of the olive blossoms will turn into fruit. Even the almonds seem to have more almonds this year. Could be due to the colder winter this year, as the period of dormancy promotes flowering that results in fruit.
A dry but promising agricultural year at Quinta do Tedo.