Vintage in the Douro

I have just returned from a weekend in the Douro where harvest is just getting underway. Most people began picking yesterday but a few quintas were already picking last week. It has not been an easy year due to the warm, wet spring and those growers that failed to treat their vines regularly and at the right time have little or no crop to speak of. Total production will be down, perhaps by as much as 30 or 40% but the quality is looking good. There is some raisinisation on exposed bunches due to the intense heat at the end of August / early September but the rain early last week did the world of good, reducing the sugar levels slightly but allowing the grapes to swell. The weather forecast continues fine for the next ten days with warm, clear days and cool nights. If all goes well (and it is a big ‘if’) then 2016 could be another 2011 in the Douro.