Douro Wine Tours
Jorge Barefoot

Author: JorgeBarefoot

Winter fall over Douro Valley

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Winter fall over Douro Valley

The weather here in the heart of Douro is changing from heavy clouds to some episodes of rain. Winter fall over Douro Valley.

The freezing Douro winter

The most constant right now are the low temperatures. I didn’t felt it so inside my bones since my adolescence.

When I complain to local people about this they always say the same:

“Now is nothing. When I was a young boy the water in the pipes and in the river Pinhão was freezing almost all winters.”

I believe, but for my standards the cold that I’m feeling is absolutely devastating.

Isolation problems

My house in Pinhão is not a model of isolation. The stone walls don’t absorb enough warm during the day to stay hot during the long freezing nights.

Yesterday, in the end of day when I arrive at home I opened my fridge. I always do this. The fridge was almost empty but there was a bottle of Douro DOC white wine that escaped from the hot summer.

For a brief moment I thought that the equipment was broken because, when I touch the bottle the glass was warmer than the air.

Pinhão winter temperature

In fact the average temperature in the coldest month, January, is 8,2ºC. The minimum is between 0ºC and 5ºC.

Probably for you this are not cold temperatures.

The isolation problems that we face in the majority of the houses, offices and stores, gives us the sensation that the temperature is worst that it really is.

Winter work in Douro Valley

In the vineyards is time to prune. Early in the morning and until the end of day men and women’s cut the vines, preparing the vineyard for another year.

I’m starting to learn how is made the quality of the wines here in Douro Valley.

Lot’s of effort in a close association with a climate that don’t give any truce.

Douro Valley or it’s doing a tremendous heat or a freezing cold, nothing in between

Douro Valley mushrooms

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Douro Valley mushrooms

October and November, Douro Valley mushrooms are on fire.

Let’s catch some “frades” is the big phrase right know here.

After grape harvest is time for mushrooms

The grape harvest is still in the air and the smell of wine in fermentation is all over our noses.

Is almost impossible to be abstracted from the vineyards and the wine here in Pinhão.

We are right in the heart of Douro Valley.

The wine is in the aroma of air and speed in the granitic pavement in the main street. Our eyes are saturated with vines. We are surrounded of vineyards here.

The Douro river is our escape to the vines that grow all over us.

The mountains invaded by the climbing plant involves us like multicoloured giant fingers.

That’s autumn here in Douro valley.

Let’s go to the “frades” is word of order.

Mushrooms catch season

All the people have story’s of big catches of “frades”. The mushrooms, taking advantage of the heat and the humidity in the hillside forests, grow fast in the shadow of the trees.

They are much appreciated here. I’ve tried them fried and grilled and they are very good.

I’ve never have the boldness to catch them, they say that you could distinguish very well but, you never know.

On top people here say that the mushrooms only appear to the crazy ones

They die well in the barbecue or in boiling olive oil from Douro always with a DOC wine from the region.

Lets go to the “frades” then

Douro Valley Oranges

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Douro Valley Oranges

Is still to soon for the harvest season but the Douro Valley oranges are changing their  color.

Saddest phase of Douro Valley

That’s a beautiful beginning that is coming in opposition to the saddest phase of our valley.

The vineyards are losing the colorful tons of reds and yellows and changing to the browns  that foreshadow the falling of leaves.

But the winter is not here yet

The deciduous trees still have the autumnal tons but the vineyards, the major culture in the Douro valley, is showing signs of tiredness. It was an hard year for her. One year full of rain, even when it wasn’t predictable, and struggle against the fungus their worse enemy.

The rotation of warm temperatures and rain were the yeast for the fungus attack and forced the farmers to an even bigger effort in the vineyard. Treatment after treatment.

The Douro men seems always conformed

It’s century after century of struggle against the elements. They know that the continuous complaint against the powdery mildew and mildew don’t solve anything. The solution is to prevent them. So they fight with all the ways they know. Weekly after the rains they prepare the fungicides and went to the vineyards to try to save their way of living.

Oranges trees vitality

Is in this frame that the orange trees show their vitality. Here and there we could see a pale color mixed with the original green.

That’s the hope that is going to born here about the Christmas time.

I always think in the oranges as the beginning fruit. They mark the new year, challenging the wild winter. They always dare to the sweet and warm orange in the middle of cold and martial gray of December.