Harvest Report

2019

Contrary to what has been the rule in recent years, weather conditions since the last harvest have been relatively stable, thus permitting an agricultural year without major upheavals or unforeseen events. The exception to this “normality” was the low rainfall level, which once again affected the Douro Valley.

Rainfall

After a dry and hot end of harvest in 2019, in November it rained almost twice the average. However, the following months were very dry and by the spring of 2019 the rainfall level below the average by 25% in the Baixo Corgo and by 25% in the Douro Superior. In the following period, although April was rainy and in May the temperature was slightly above average, the weather was generally cooler and very dry, and by September there were downward deviations in average rainfall levels of 19% in the Baixo Corgo and 34% in the Douro Superior.

The average rainfall from November to December in the Douro Superior is 489.4 mm, which compares with a rainfall level this year of 321.8 mm (in 2017, one of the driest years ever, the rainfall level was 313.4 mm). In the Baixo Corgo, where the average for the same period is 755.4 mm, rainfall stood at 616.4.

Sun

Temperatures were slightly below normal, with maximums always below the values of recent years, particularly in June, which was really a very cool month compared to the average. Heat spikes were not dramatic, but still, and only in July, caused some scorching in sensitive grape varieties such as Moscatel and Sousão. August and September saw very favourable conditions for the harvest, with normal and mild temperatures, cool nights and no rain.

These favourable conditions were particularly appreciated, coming as they did after the excessive weather conditions of the last summers.

Vineyards Performance

The positive side of the low rainfall was the very low incidence of infections and diseases in the vineyard.

The good general health of the vineyards in the Douro, together with the high rainfall level in the previous year and consequent high level of water reserves in the soil, allowed a significant increase in production, which came close to historical averages, and was higher than in the last two years.

At Quinta do Vallado, in Régua, production was 17.5% higher than in the previous year.

The Douro Superior vineyards, at Quinta do Orgal, which had been badly hit in recent years by very adverse weather events, performed very well in 2019, despite the extraordinarily dry year (production almost doubled compared to 2018 and came close to the total in 2015, which was a year of excellent production).

The harvest at Quinta do Vallado, in Régua, started on the 21st of August, with the usual suspects - Moscatel, followed by Gouveio, and finally Sousão - and ended on the 4th of October.

In the Douro Superior the harvest started on the 2nd of September and ended at the end of September.

This will be a great year for whites - very fruity and with acidity and structure.

In reds, there are also excellent wines, some of which at the best level ever - namely from Quinta do Vallado's old vineyards.

The Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca wines, from the Douro Superior, are also excellent.

In Port, good quality wines are expected, without making this an exceptional year.

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