Growing grapes is far from being a predictable process as we rely a lot on weather conditions. Sometimes too much. So much that adverse weather can destroy what we think is a good crop. And that is what happened with our Tinta Roriz. While we were at Vinexpo, a trade fair in Bordeaux, between the 19th and the 24th of June, our grapes were attacked by mildew. A first forecast points to over 50% loss on Tinta Roriz, around 15% to Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Sousão. The most affected vineyard was Quinta da Trovisca where some vines lost all the bunches as the photos show.
My father says that this situation reminds him the harvest of 1988, when also a big part of the crop was lost to mildew. I was only 5 years old at that time and can’t remember these troubles. But I well remember that four years ago, in 2007, there was also a mildew attack all over the Douro, and that did not detained us to make one if not the best Port of the decade. This means that mildew will not affect quality, as long as we take some cautions and carefully select the bunches. Actually, it must increase the quality of the grapes left in the vine, as there are fewer and the vine will focus on ripening very well the fruit that it can still grow.
From what I have talked with other producers, it seems that mildew affect vines everywhere in the Douro. I can imagine that few will admit it, and will swear that everything is perfect with there vines. But what looked like a generous crop a couple of months ago, seems like a reduced one now. And this reduction in the quantity will very likely increase the quality of both Port and Douro wines, bring prices up at the same time, for both wines.
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