The Douro Wine Region is made of thousands of vineyard plots, each of which with its own peculiar characteristics including, amongst others, the age of the vines, the varieties planted, and the sun orientation. All of these make the region a rich source of grapes for the production of a vast selection of wines: different special categories of Port wines including Ruby, Tawny, LBV, Colheita or Vintage, and the White and Red Douro wines including the Single Varietals, Single Vineyards and the Reserva Old Vines.

It falls to the Quinta do Crasto grape-growing and wine making teams to blend the grapes coming from each individual plot of vines so as to arrive at the perfect wine for each category. This is a long and delicate task that calls upon the talent and skill of these teams who are guided by the strategic plan laid out in advance for each wine. At Quinta do Crasto, there are five granite lagares with different capacities. The largest one can hold up to nine tons of grapes.

Each granite lagar has a huge capacity. However, in order to produce wines, it is not necessary to fill them to capacity. As each plot of vines is harvested, fermented and made separately into wine, a lagar might not be filled more than one or two hands height of grapes before they are trodden and the juice is fermented under the guidance of the winemakers. These many different decisions are taken daily throughout the harvest in accordance with the context and the winemaking conditions. It is only at the end of the process that the winemaking team puts together the final blend of each wine after careful evaluation of the results obtained from the grapes of each plot of vines.

The last grapes to be harvested at Quinta do Crasto are those destined for Port wine production. They are sweeter and more concentrated. And even to this day, they are foot trodden in the traditional manner by the Quinta do Crasto team in the winery´s granite lagares. The grapes are kept in the five lagares for four days while for four hours a day a team of about ten people tread them.

The winery is equipped with automatic treading mechanisms capable of imitating the movements of the human foot. However, for its Port wines, Quinta do Crasto chooses to maintain the tradition of treading the grapes by foot. This is because of the difference between the robot treading and that performed by the human foot. The mechanical option runs the risk of breaking the pips, which would lend an unnecessary astringency to the wine. Foot treading, on the other hand, avoids that risk.

The wine sits fermenting inside the granite lagares for four days. This natural process normally causes the solid parts of the grapes rise to the top of the tank where they form what is called the cap. At this point a robot punches the cap down to keep it in contact with the must – the juice of the grape after it has finished fermenting – so that the essential characteristics of the wine, its body, tannins and aromas, are extracted. This process is guided step by step by the winemaking team who decides how long each phase should last as well as the winemaking technique to be used at each point. This is the process by which all of the four Quinta do Crasto Port wines are crafted.