by Miška and Łukasz
At the beginning was the word and then God created wine, or something like that. From our perspective that could be an actual order of things. Which is quite ironic when you think of it. Czech Republic – beer center of the world; Poland – one of the vodka leaders. But we found the importance of life in wine. It is a perfect way to bring people together, break all the ice and keep up the good mood (not to mention all the health benefits).
Thanks to the invitation and help from Our Land Tours we had a pleasure to take part in the annual Harvest Party (Festa das Vindimas) of Quinta do Gradil. It's an event bringing together friends, families, investors, partners, distributors and potential future associates of the vineyard.
We gathered to celebrate Bachus' favorite drink. Everybody got a blue t-shirt, a hat and a wineglass (maybe except of kids), and became a big team. The first bottles were opened and snacks served starting this the first of three stages of the event (we called them: White, Pink and Red). White wine was poured coming hand in hand with a craft beer, both a necessary fuel for the hard work which was waiting in the fields, it was still a HARVEST Party.
Happy and excited, a blue wave of people moved towards the vines chosen for this occasion. The two of us, we ended up picking up sauvignon blanc, and were surrounded by people of all ages and all nationalities doing the same. The rhythm of our work was given by a band playing life music. Sun was shining, wind blowing gently and time flew very fast. Before we noticed the job was done. Of course one needs to understand that it was just a sample, for the event, for people to try it, the vineyard is huge and the priority was in the gathering itself (some of the women shoes were a proof of that: sandals are not made for this).
It was our first time, and an amazing experience, but defined by the celebration in the background. We are not sure how we would feel after doing this for the whole day... But then again, these days, such a big vineyard is using machines rather than people.
Stepping out from the fields – a pink wine was waiting and some more snacks.
We were given a possibility to observe part of the production process and the birthplaces of Quinta do Gradil's goods. In the same time kids had their own party: stomping on freshly collected grapes. We felt sad that we couldn't join the fun.
This stage of the event was highlighted for us by the 'vineyard rally', 4x4 experience prepared by Our Land Tours, a daredevil ride across the whole vineyard. Red dust got everywhere, even to our smiles, but surviving it made us appreciate life even more.
After getting out of the car we were welcomed by the music blasting from the speakers – that kicked off the final stage of the day.
We think that DJ had more alcohol than us, as the opening song was 'All I want for Christmas is you' followed by the main theme of 'Maya the Honey Bee' cartoon. Later on the repertoire continued on similar level making gestures to the youngest parts of the audience who was choosing the songs (Bieber? Swift? Fonsi? There was all.), but luckily not only them – the darker the night, the more attractive was the playlist also for the older ears.
The closure elements were red wine, food from vineyard's own restaurant and sweets.
Menu would impress the Roman god. Sea-food cream soup gave space to the main course which was quite orgasmic to our taste cubes. Meat in a souse blended up perfectly with mashed sweet potatoes and a pear – separately they were very good but stunning when eaten together. Deserts and coffee were there as well, balancing the impression with bittersweet mixture.
Party continued till the late hours of night with attractions for everyone. There was even a hot air balloon waiting for anyone who'd like to see the place from a different perspective. Kids were playing football, dancing with the grown ups while those enjoyed wine and great company.
Filled with good spirits (pun intended), we left Quinta do Gradil hopeful about the future. Especially that the two of us, we are simple people, we like the basic pleasures – food, drinks, sex, nature, family and friends. And in the West region of Portugal it is easy to find them all.