We hadn't planned on visiting Quinta do Noval but had a few hours in hand before we left Portugal's Douro for Spain's Ribera del Duero. The spur of the moment decision to pop into this 300-year-old winery proved to hold a wonderful surprise when we were allowed to stroll around and saw this authentic labour-intensive traditional process, one that has been largely replaced by automated feet and silicon crushers.
Three times a day, for 90 minutes each session, throughout the Tempranillo harvest, these young women at this winery in the Douro take off their shoes and socks and step into a lagares of fermenting wine to "punch-down" the cap.
Another unexpected bounty was to find a team of workers harvesting Tempranillo on the ancient terraced slopes adjacent to the winery.
In their website, Christian Seely, Noval's managing director, writes "The wines of Quinta do Noval express the greatness of this terroir, of this majestic landscape. They evoke also the centuries of history that have been necessary in order for these wonderful wines to exist."
There is no doubt that in the few hours we were there we were fortunate enough to witness this philosophy.
Photos by David Silverman. Copyright © 2016 dpsimages. All Rights Reserved.