The vintage is close and ripening control is very important to define the date of the harvest and to define the order that different fields should be harvest within the same vineyard.
We were carrying out ripening controls in Quinta da Alegria (up Cima-Corgo) on August 29th and in Quinta das Olgas (Douro Superior) on September 2nd. On the top of Quinta da Alegria the grapes were with 11,5º Bé; the bottom part was with 12,1º Bé. Last year on August 23rd we got 12,5º Bé in the upper side and 12,8º Bé in the bottom part. In Quinta das Olgas we carried out the ripening control on September 2nd. The field Vale do Nedo was with 13,0º Bé, Barroso 13,2º Bé and Olgas with 11,7º Bé. On 2007 the control was done on August 30th and Vale do Nedo was with 12,4º Bé, Barroso with 13,1º Bé and Olgas with 12,0º Bé.
Last year ripening was pretty much advanced in Quinta da Alegria. This year weather is quite irregular and even yesterday rained a bit in S. João da Pesqueira and the forecast for the next two days is also rain. We have to hold on and keep doing ripening control to define a more accurate date for the beginning of the harvest.
In 2007 we started the harvest in Quinta das Olgas and Quinta da Alegria on September 3rd. We collected both at the same time because ripening were quite similar in both and we also had a lot of employees available as we were at the beginning of September and almost no one was harvesting. Grapes came to the winery with good sugar content and good acidity, so we could get balanced must. Grapes from Quinta das Olgas was between 13,5º Bé and 14º Bé and grapes from Quinta da Alegria between 13,0º Bé and 13,8º Bé.
This year is different, lets wait 3 or 4 more days, keep doing ripening controls and pray for better weather!
I will keep you up-to-date.
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