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2002 Vintage

Challenging weather conditions during the year and during the harvest period resulted in relatively few declarations or bottlings of vintage ports.

Viticultural and Weather Conditions

The winter of 2001/2002 was very dry in the Douro, with records at Pinhão showing a rainfall between November and March 30% less than normal. The clear weather meant warm sunny days were followed by very cold nights, and the extreme fluctuations led to a later than normal budburst. April frost damaged some higher vineyards and reduced crops.

The summer was dry but mild, with an average temperature of only 34 C in August. The vines weathered the summer surprisingly well, due to these mild temperatures, and a generally high level of water reserves from the previous wet winter. Heavy showers in late August were perfect to bring the fruit along, with grapes swelling, sugar readings rising and skins softening.

Picking began fairly early, between 9 and 12 September with the grapes looking exceptionally good. Unfortunately, the fine dry weather broke and between 15 and 21 September we had heavy showers. Thereafter, conditions improved. The vintage was average to small in size, with higher lying vineyards affected by the April frost.

Winemaker's Overview

The early made wines, which thankfully are from the best vineyards, escaped the damage done by the rain. However towards the end of the month it was clear that the weather was taking the edge off what could have been a really excellent vintage. There are undoubtedly some very good wines made in the first phase of the harvest.

Charles Symington
17 October 2002



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