He is passionate, genuine, confident and easy-going. His strong work ethic means he prides himself on everything he says and does. “I’ve done a bit of everything on the Estate, from gardening to helping out in the warehouse, to working on the vines... I used to come here with my father when I was 12 years old. I was born here in Távora but bred on the Quinta do Convento de São Pedro das Águias!”
Meet Carlos Alberto, 52, in charge of everything that goes on outside – the vines, the olive groves, the up-keep of the terraces, absolutely everything! He monitors and coordinates the day-to-day working groups. He shows them the ropes.
“The machine doesn’t stop, and it has to keep going; we need to fill the pallets,” he tells us. We are in the middle of the olive harvest. Carlos Alberto holds the tree shaker that has come to replace the beating of the trees. It makes the olives fall onto a sheet on the ground. “It’s been a good year; the olives are looking great. There’s nothing better than getting to this stage and seeing the hard work pay off. It’s the same with the wine harvest. It’s the most special time of the year”.
Carlos Alberto planted many of the olive trees where he’s been picking olives; the same goes for the vines too! He grew up when the land was ploughed with the help of a horse. Carlos Alberto embodies what we call the “heroic winemaking of the Douro,” carried out by thousands of unknown figures, who, over decades, have fearlessly thrown themselves into working on the sloped terraces of the valleys. “It’s always been hard work, but I do it as if it were my own,” he says with a twinkle in his eyes.
Once the first few work hours are over, the team stops for a morning snack. The biggest surprise is Carlos Alberto, who stops to eat a yogurt. So, what did he have for breakfast to get him through the day? “Ah! It’s all about having some good soup, you know those very thick broths, where a spoon stands upright?! Soup made from all the good things the land gives us!”.
Our thanks to Carlos Alberto for his strong will, enthusiasm and dedication!