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Published:  23 July, 2008

Foot-treading in lagares is still the best way to make premium Port, according to David Guimaraens, technical director and winemaker at Taylor Fonseca. Guimaraens, who has completed a five-year research and development project into alternative Port production methods, ahead of the opening of the company's new winery at Quinta da Nogueira, was speaking at a seminar at Vinopolis, entitled "Man Versus Machine". Taylor Fonseca's aim was to develop a new process that would "match the performance of the foot-trodden lagar for the production of vintage-type Port wine". To this end, it has developed a new piston fermenter (called P4) which it will use on purchased grapes. Guimaraens said that the wines processed using the P4 fermenter had similar levels of colour, extraction and aroma to those produced in lagares, although "further validation is necessary". Nevertheless, md Adrian Bridge confirmed that Taylor Fonseca's vintage Ports will continue to be made in lagares. "Foot-treading is only used on 3% of Port production, but it gives the best results. We will continue to use it in our quintas, although who knows what will happen over the next 20 years." As yet, no decision has been made about methods of production at the newly acquired houses of Croft and Delaforce (see Harpers, 7 September).