Harvest in the Algarve – In Portugal, the landscapes of the wine-producing regions are breathtaking all year round, but even more so during harvest when the work of a year bears fruit. Get ready for that special time.
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Harvest in the Algarve
Since classical antiquity, the grape harvest is celebrated worldwide as if it were a party, after all, it is the culmination of a whole year’s work that, at that moment, is symbolically celebrated.
In Portugal, the end of summer is synonymous with harvests, so it is really coming these days in the country.
The harvest is one of the oldest wine-related activities also in Portugal and certainly one of the most traditional. The landscapes of the wine-producing regions are breathtaking all year round, but even more so during harvest time. It is a time much awaited by all since now that the work of a year “bears fruit”.
After pruning in January, the bunches form in the spring and it is in the summer that the grapes gain color, aroma, and taste.
The harvesting process, despite being done with good cheer and a lot of joy, is time-consuming. As a rule, the harvests are carried out in September and October, always depending on summer temperatures and the amount of rainfall during the year, when the grapes are already ripe, that is, when their weight, color, and acidity are on point for wine production.
Despite the various techniques introduced, it is also possible to determine the best time to harvest through a simple and traditional popular method: when the grapes’ stalks are withered and the skins of the berries begin to contract. But, it is up to the producers, depending on the variety, to determine the harvest date that best suits them depending on the type of wine they intend to produce.
A rainy summer, for example, will postpone the harvest date as the energy received will essentially be used to evaporate the water, keeping the soil cooler, and with this lower temperature the grape will take time to reach the necessary maturation point.
Here, in the Algarve, harvest represents a unique time of year, which encompasses all the activities that take place between grape picking and wine production. Because of the constantly warm weather in the region, the harvest generally is carried out in August since here the grapes are ripening earlier than in the other, cooler parts of the country.
The harvest begins with fresh, fully ripe bunches of grapes that are generally harvested by hand picking, using a pair of scissors to quickly cut them.
The harvested grapes are processed by the winemaker within a short period. But first, moldy grains should be removed.
Picking is usually followed by pressing. The fruits go to the tanks where sometimes the workers or guests trample the grapes, tied to each other and often to the sound of local musicians to make the experience even more exciting. This characteristic atmosphere is still very much present in the Portuguese harvest experience. Although, the wineries are now using more and more technological methods.
Blue grapes are crushed and separated from the stem using a press-crusher machine.
But the way white wine is made is different from the creation of rosé or red wine because when processing white grapes, immediately after pressing, the juice is separated from the seed and skin of the fruit. In order to increase the release of flavoring substances, the skins of the white grapes are occasionally left in the juice for 12-24 hours. But this process also increases the release of color, which is not the goal of winemakers in the case of white wine.
The next step is fermentation. The production of good quality wines requires carefully controlled alcoholic fermentation. This requires the presence of a specific number of useful yeasts, the provision of the correct nutrients for the yeasts, temperature control, prevention of oxidation, and proper treatment of the skins floating in the must.
Finally, the period of the aging process can vary depending on the type of wine desired.
Regardless of the region, the harvest is an important event in the calendar of annual harvests. A day lived in full conviviality and celebration capable of bringing people together with the aim of having fun and working together for the common goal of producing good wine!
During the harvest time, several wineries have tour programs for visitors to be part of this experience, not only the harvest and treading of the grapes but lunch with traditional food and tasting of local wines.
If you want to join this party, some wineries in the Algarve open their doors at harvest time so that any of us can be part of the magic that is experienced there.
Discover some Quintas where you can participate in the picking of the grapes that will later become one of the delicious wines produced in Portugal. So, if someone wants to try the harvest just for fun, they are more than welcome in some Algarve wineries.
Take a trip back in time and embark on this adventure!
Herdade Barranco do Vale
The vineyard is located in São Bartolomeu de Messines, between the ocean and the mountains of Monchique, where in addition to the vineyards there are cork, carob, olive, and pine trees as well.
Their amazing wines were awarded gold and silver medals not only in the Algarve Wine Contest but also at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles and at the International Wine Challenge.
Joining their harvest, after work you can also taste their wines.
The address: Estrada Municipal 510, Sitio dos Campilhos, 8375-021 São Bartolomeu de Messines
If you are interested to take part in their harvest experience, you just need to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to book your place.
The winery is a family project, located in the municipality of Silves, which has been in existence for half a century. Their aim is to value Portuguese and native Algarve grape varieties and to extract from them all the quality potential for the production of excellent wines.
Every year, the family organizes a Harvest Experience that will happen this year during August again.
This fantastic program will start early in the morning, at 8 a.m., at the reception of the winery. First, they welcome the guests with a short coffee break while introducing their history and project. And then, all the guests go to the vineyard and the harvest will start with their help and supervision.
After a few hours of harvest, everybody goes to the winery to foot stomp the grapes and then, the experience will finish with a big lunch, all together.
If you feel like participating in this fun experience, all the information on the harvest will be released close to the date through the winery’s social media accounts (Facebook and Instagram) presented with the name @cabritawines. The tickets will be sold via their website at www.cabritawines.com.