The start of harvest

The heat came early this year and thankfully we have enjoyed moderate temperatures despite the continuing drought. Yesterday, with the sun still shining, we are picked the first red grapes, Syrah and Viognier, followed by the vinha velha (old vines) today and tomorrow. Sugar levels (and therefore potential alcohol) are not that high as yet this year (13- 14 baumé) but the grapes taste ripe and that is a good basis to pick. The first Atlantic depression of the autumn is forecast to hit us mid-week so it makes good sense to gather the best, early ripening grapes befoe the rain. Last year rain fell at the same time then didn't stop for two weeks.