Winery

The winery at Quinta das Amendoeiras is new, indeed, but it is still old, as a result of the refurbishment of a old building.
The project, devised by architect Paulo Viana, preserved the old schist and granite walls and two original lagares. Another two were removed to make room for more modern equipment.
Old granite lagares and modern stainless steel vats with must pumps and temperature control co-exist in that room and illustrate the interaction taking place between tradition and technology at Quinta das Amendoeiras.
The original sloping ground, between the areas of fermentation and storage, was kept intact in order to reduce to the minimum the use of pumps – at Quinta das Amendoeiras gravity is of great help: the whole process is made downwards, so that, besides the wine, the stem and husk can count on gravity to be unloaded.
The roof, which was about to collapse, is sustained by metal beams. The lining is made of wood and the space between it and the tiles is filled with a strong thermo insulator in order to avoid temperature variation.
Everything is done for the comfort of the wine.

Equipment

To produce a wine with the quality of Negreiros the winery was our biggest investment. But all this investment would be useless if not completed with the proper equipment.
Starting from the beginning: the harvesting boxes. They are simple plastic boxes (plastic suitable for food, which neither adds nor takes away flavours). It might seem trivial, but it is here that one starts producing a good wine. These boxes have a maximum capacity for 25 kg of grapes, so the grapes do not get crushed by their own weight and remain intact as they are unloaded into the destemmer.
The destemmer ‘spits’ the stem into the tractor trailer and let the grapes fall into the crusher, which only applies the necessary pressure to open the skin, without damaging the seeds that are carried into the Mohno pump.
In fermentation vats, the manta (solid part of the must, kept in suspension by carbon gas produced by the fermentation process) is sprinkled with the use of remounting pumps. The grapes are foot trodden in the stone lagares using the traditional method. There, the sprinkling of the manta also takes place, so that an intense contact between the solid and the liquid parts of the must enables the extraction of the aromatic richness Douro grapes have to offer.
The wine must scale and the thermometer is under permanent attention. As soon as density starts decreasing, it means that the sugars are turning into alcohol and the must into wine. The machine that had been heating the vats starts cooling them so that fermentation takes place slowly, meticulously and patiently. Thus, nothing and no scent will be lost.
Once the alcoholic fermentation is finished, it is time to start the pressing. This is the ‘dirtiest’ and the most physical part of wine making. The electro-mechanic device spares us some labour, but there is plenty of manual work to be done. And we do it. Slowly.
The wine is pressed on the upper floor and taken down by gravity to the storage area, five metres below. First, it goes to stainless vats, to be prepared to age in french oak casks for about 10 months..
At the winery we also fill in, cap and ‘dress up’ each bottle of Negreiros.

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