It's 7 am. Rays of sunshine are breaking over the mountains and beginning to light up the Távora Valley. Soon, the quiet of early morning will be broken. Somewhere near the Convent of São Pedro das Águias you hear poles beating the tree branches repeatedly. It means only one thing: the olive harvest has begun.
After the grapes, the olives are the most important crop at Quinta do Convento de São Pedro das Águias. November brings another two weeks of harvest shortly after the hustle and bustle of the grape picking season. As with our wines, we use a traditional hand-picking method for the olives, focused on harvesting the best olives from the around 3500 trees, aged over 40 years of age, that wind across the Estate.
Early in the morning, a team headed up by Carlos Alberto, one of the Estate's long-time employees, begins the annual job of harvesting the olive trees one by one. First, he lays out sheets under the trees, and then the men start the pole beating, a process in which they beat the branches, so the olives come loose and fall onto the sheets. If there is space, a small tree shaker speeds up the process. Tree shakers aren't employed on the ancient olive trees (some hundreds of years old).
Once harvested, the piles of olives on the sheets are placed in plastic buckets that hold about 35 kg. These buckets are called bújaros, explains Carlos Alberto. Plastic crates containing the bújaros are loaded onto the truck that takes the olives to the mill.
These olives result in an extraordinary olive oil bottled by Kranemann Wine Estates under the Quinta do Convento brand. The olive oil produced has a fruity nose, hints of herbs, olives and green apple. Its flavour is fresh with a touch of balanced acidity and spiciness. It is smooth and has a very flavoursome finish.
On average, the Estate produces around 2000 bottles of this exclusive olive oil.