“We wake up when it’s still dark and make our way across the plains, through a vast expanse of vineyards drawn in geometric patterns; we will come back here later. We climb the hills softly near the banks of a reservoir where the first birds signal the twilight, and we finally enter the wild area surrounding the estate. We chase the brief minutes that offer the best light and mist that can be found here in the south.

Like us, these woods awaken to another hot spring day, nature here emerges untouched, rabbits with their pointed ears raised catch the first rays of sunlight and welcome us. A fox. A deer. Bats return to their nests, carefully placed around the vineyards. There are signs of wild boars on the ground. Later, we will discover how all these animals are pieces of the puzzle of local biodiversity, carefully tended, and we will find out that wild boars, for example, are welcome in the vineyards for an occasional breakfast of grapes. This is an enormous organic farm, and humans have found in nature and in this specific ecological system everything they need to produce some of the greatest Portuguese wines.

The sun is high and we are back in the vineyards. The vines have ended their dormant stage and are starting to bloom. The cycle begins. Here and there, in this vast expanse of vineyards, groups of women are at work, cleaning the vineyards.

There is a sense of tranquillity throughout the entire estate, an occasional tractor, some men paint the winery’s walls. I can imagine how this peace will end when the harvest comes.”

João Bernardino @joao.bernardino