Vintage comes to an end

The 2010 vintage seems to have gone on for ever, and for the last two weeks it has had to continue without me. We finally finished picking yesterday and with no space left in the winery we sold the last of our grapes to a neighbour. Fortunately the weather was kind to us but some grapes took forever to ripen, especially those sections of the vineyard with the deepest soils and heaviest yields. It seems that we are not alone and that conditions in the Douro are much the same. Paul Symington emailed me earlier in the week as follows: ‘the heavens opened last pm here in the Douro, nearly a re-run of 6th Oct last year. And the forecast is not great this week, although today there are clouds but no rain. So we are trying to get the best of the Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional in. At most of our Quintas we are well over half way through. But like you, the TF and TN were struggling to ripen properly, I am sure that this was due to the total absence of rain through July and August and effectively all of September, so plenty of deep water after last winter, but the vines have had to struggle to get what they needed very deep down. We stopped for a few days at Vesúvio and elsewhere to lets things get better, but of course we could not know what might come this week.'