19 Dec 2012
Find out more about the 2012 harvest in the douro valley.
The winter was much drier and colder than normal, with only 183.6 mm of rain at Pinhão between November and March, about 50% of the average of the last 30 years. Burst occurred on March 19 under very dry conditions, with April and early May bringing a welcome 141 mm of rain at Pinhão. Cool temperatures during April ensured that the vines remained free of fungal disease, however, this conditioned the growth of the hedges, and in some varieties affected bunch development. By the end of May, the vines showed low vigor, the result of a combination of an extremely dry winter and a colder than normal spring.
Flowering occurred over a longer period than usual, between the 14th and 30th of May.During June and July the weather remained good which allowed the vines to develop healthily, and with the exception of the extremely hot period on the feast of St. John, on June 24th and 25th, temperatures were very balanced, with the average temperature in July of 23.6 º C. The vines maintained a lower vigor than usual, and the smaller berries and clusters showed a low yield for the year. The veraison inevitably occurred later than usual.In mid-August, when we began to evaluate the ripeness of the grapes to determine the start of the harvest, the sugar content was still very low and with high levels of acidity. The vegetation however, was extremely healthy for the time. With the hedges in excellent condition and fewer bunches, this resulted in a significant and continuous ripening over the weeks, something that rarely occurs. As a result, harvesting began between September 18 and September 22 at our Quintas. The rain that fell on September 24th led to a pause in the harvest, but the good weather during the rest of the harvest resulted in excellent Port wines produced both before and after the rain. The low vigor and extremely healthy vines, with very balanced temperatures during ripening, combined with small berries and clusters resulted in Port wines with great fruit freshness and excellent natural acidity.