While last year’s harvest started later than normal on September 7, due to a cool spring and later fruit set in the vineyards, Harvest 2017 started almost 2 weeks earlier on 21 September! 50% of normal rainfall (27 cm vs 55 cm / 10 inches vs 18 inches) and average temperatures higher throughout most of the summer (mid-July to mid-August averaged 38/40 C or 100/105 F daily) resulted in a surprisingly early harvest start, like in other Northern Hemisphere viticultural region. But then, what is “normal” these days with the world experiencing unprecedented weather extremes?!
Douro Valley has the good fortune to already be a hot climatic region, and the grape varieties are adapted to heat and drought. I am always impressed that our grapevines survive days of unrelenting heat, yet the main varieties grown at Quinta do Tedo, to include Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Tinta Cão and Sousão thrive in heat and severe conditions, and the small yields result in Portos and Douro DOC red wines of exceptional complexity, concentration, structure and aging potential.