It’s late Summer and in some of the country’s 14 wine regions, the picking of the ripe graves has already begun. From the traditional to the most technological techniques, wineries and estates are busy. Hundreds of workers roam the fields and choose the best bunches. And, from North to South, a lot of places welcome visitors to join in and enjoy harvest season in Portugal.
Experts say that 2021 has all the potential to be a great Portuguese Wine Year. And, surely, the first regions to start the harvest – Vinho Verde and Douro – seem to confirm just that. The first days of picking have resulted in a growth around 20%, when compared to 2020. And we can not wait to try the new wines, a few months from now, on our Portuguese Wine Tastings and Port Wine Tastings! In the meantime, we are having a lot of fun with previous years and vintages.
Wine, landscape and culture
Of course, it is still too early to taste the 2021 Portuguese wines from their bottles. So, the best alternative to witness how they are being made is to travel to one of the wine regions and join the harvest. If you want to just show up and have everything ready, the best way is to choose a travel company to organize things and create a custom Wine Harvest Experience.
During that time, you can really immerse yourself in the Portuguese Wine World. For instance, in the Douro Valley. UNESCO World Heritage Landscape and home to the unique Port Wine, this region is a feast for wine lovers, but also for people who love the big outdoors and culture. Other regions that offer a lot besides wine and its harvest are the Vinho Verde, Dão or Alentejo.
Another way for you to enjoy harvest season in Portugal is to spend some time in one of the many estates and wineries that offer Harvesting Activities. Some places have a day or more of picking with wine and food tastings. Others add to that accommodation and tours around the region. With so much to choose from, it’s up to you to create your own Portuguese Harvest Season Experience.
Harvesting grapes is time-consuming and a tough task. But it can also be a huge party. Traditionally, the grape pickers would sing while they were in the hot and often steep vineyards. That would help pass the time and create strong bonds between them. The singing would also be very common during grape stomping in the cellars. After the harder work was done, it was time to feast around the table and dance!
Besides the private celebrations, Harvest Season in Portugal is also a time for public festivals. After all the 2020 Covid-induced restrictions, several villages and small cities around the country are again organizing these kinds of festivities, assuring all the health and safety measures.
One of our favorites is the “Harvest 2021” Festival in Palmela. This village, around one hour south from Lisbon’s city center, is the unofficial wine capital in Portugal. From the 3rd to the 12th of September, the streets become alive with food and wine farmer’s markets, sport competitions, pairing workshops, wine and food tastings and even a Miss Harvest election! However, the main even is the Thanksgiving Mass of the Grapes and the Blessing of the First Grape Must. Mixing popular beliefs and religious faith, it is the way the community has to celebrate its main richness: wine.
Some other places that celebrate the time to pick the grapes with huge parties are, for example the cities of Oeiras – next to Lisbon and Sintra -, Viseu – in the center of the Dão wine region – and also in the Madeira islands. And everywhere else in our country you can find amazing people and places that will be excited to enjoy harvest season in Portugal with you!