The familiar sounds of chitchatting pickers, the snipping of their secateurs working their way through the vineyards and the surging of the tractor engine in the distance as the grapes are being brought to the Adega remind us, that yet another wine-year of hard work is culminating in that glorious time, the vindima.
Early mornings, late nights – planting, managing wires, picking, selecting, destemming, crushing, treading, fermenting, pressing and again and again: sanitizing – the aromas of fermenting wine in the air, hands and feet dyed in that violet colour, the sure give-aways of the cellar workers.
The light is intense, the leaves turn from green to yellow, orange, red, purple...time to give in to that archaic sentiment of thanksgiving, to a sense of "saudades" to be with friends and family again, to celebrate the harvest and enjoy the good things in life.
Come October and we prepare for the FESTIVAL DA NOSSA TERRA: a charity event celebrating our “terra”, meaning the earth we live on, our terra, meaning the village of Gradil we call ours, and our terra, meaning the actual bit of land we feel privileged enough to steward.
The theme is the wine, regional traditions and different cultures, expressed in music and national costums. We feel great support from "the locals" and also from a group of German friends, led by Joachim Goll, that actually are and were the driving force behind the Festival in 2008. Both these groups have grown in numbers, friendships have developed and so our Festival seems to surpass itself every year.
Culinary treats include hog roasts, wood oven baked Mafra bread by Virginia and Maria de Luz, "Água Pé" with roasted chestnuts, the famous "Stone Soup" by Eduardo Zé and Ribeiro, "German Zwiebelkuchen" made by Sylvia, Betas´rice pudding, delicious Waffeln, all enjoyed in Dirndl & Lederhosen, folkloric dance groups in local costumes, entertainment for big and small, the excellent Cottas Club Jazz band, Rui Franjas KoolJazz, Fires, Fun and Fandango!