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Port harvest survives Cyclone Henry in excellent health

Published:  06 November, 2015

The 2015 port harvest was both early and conducted in ideal conditions for picking, The Fladgate Partnership has revealed.

Picking began at Vargellas and Roêda on September 7, followed by Retiro Novo on September 10 and Panascal on the 12th.

The tail end of Cyclone Henry threatened to disrupt the harvest. However, picking was only halted on two days - September 15 and 16 - when 71mm of rain fell in the Pinhão Valley and 58mm at Roêda.

David Guimaraens, head winemaker at The Fladgate Partnership, said: "Despite a break in the harvest on 15 and 16 September, which delayed the start of the harvest at our quintas in the Pinhão Valley, the weather remained warm and dry, providing ideal picking conditions."

The winter was extremely dry, with rainfall in some areas down by a third against the ten-year average.

Much of the year was unseasonably hot. Temperatures between April and June were higher than normal and late June and early July saw the barometer spike above 40ºC. Véraison arrived early across all the vineyards.

A dry but mild August resulted in well-preserved berries with little sign of shrivel.

The UK is the fifth largest export market for Port but the largest market for premium Port.

The UK Port market is worth some £80 million a year, according to the Instituto dos Vinho do Douro e Porto (IVDP).

Port shipments to the UK in 2015 are reported to be up 15% by volume and 18% by value.