In 2014, with 92 years of age, she made her last grape harvest at Quinta do Espinho.
Camila was not only a woman who was born, grew up and lived, worked and died in Douro.
She learnt working the vine with her parents, who had learnt it with their parents and those with the previous generation. These men and women work the whole year towards the harvest moment. They live of the land and for the land.
Still today, the wine produced in this land needs man labour. This praise to all “warriors”, embodied by Camila, is to us a synonym of a great respect and appreciation for the Douro people.
Douro’s oldest vines (1750), planted in traditional terraces supported by stone walls, were built by hand by the Douro “warriors”. Centuries of hard work in extreme climate conditions do not come as little to anyone.
With one of the most distinctive terroirs of the wine culture history, these terraces provide for one of the most fantastic landscapes in the world.
Note: The vine demands an eleven-month work period per year, during the whole flowering cycle of the vine (from December to October).
In March, a new vegetative cycle of the vine begins with “the weeping of the vine”. The vines that were pruned in the winter lose their sap and as the weather becomes warmer the enzyme activity of the plant begins.
After three to five weeks of this stage, the budburst or breaking of the buds starts. This vine stage is responsible for the first floral buds and the separation of the grape bunches.
Quinta do Espinho’s flowering period begun in the first weeks of May, nearly eight weeks after the budburst.
The dry and high temperatures of spring fostered the flowering and this whole new vine cycle.
The flowering lasts about ten days, it is the opening of the flowers. A successful pollination and fecundation is crucial to the production of a yielded fruit. Initially, some embryo bunches are developed and then small grains take the form of a pea bean, which will become a grape.
Our bee friends play an essential role in this stage; after all, spring is their season.
After the flowering, the grape bunches start a new maturing phase. We will comment on this phase at the end of June.
The flowering day “states” the grape harvesting day, because the later happens 100 days after the beginning of flowering. Thus, we expect to start the grape harvesting in the beginning of September.