It is harvest time in the Douro, and we started our first lagares at Quinta do Noval last week. It is looking very good so far.
This weekend however, our lagar was unusually picturesque. Traditionally grape treading was an exclusively masculine activity – to the point that female presence in the lagar room at all was actively discouraged. This has now all changed, at least at Quinta do Noval, where in fact the (usually male) treaders now work under the orders of Senhora Ausenda Matos, our oenologist in charge of the lagares.
But to take things a little further still Corinne Michot, our brand ambassador who spends a lot of time at Quinta do Noval, organized an exclusively female lagar last Saturday. Men were banished from the room this time, but one or two photographs have survived which prove that from an aesthetic point of view there is a lot be said for gender equality in the winery. It remains to be seen whether the resulting Port wine will be characterized by the same seductive female character as the treaders themselves. We will taste the wine blind against Port trodden by males and let you know if there are discernible differences, in which case we may decide to take this experiment further next year.