“We’re waiting for a very good year in terms of both quality and quantity, in which we’re expecting around a 15% increase relative to last year,” Rodolfo Queirós, president of the Beira Interior Region Viticulture Commission (CVBRI).

Rodolfo Queirós pointed to the region having “very safe grapes” and that “it isn’t by chance that Beira Interior has over a thousand acres of biological production.”

“We have unique conditions to produce grapes with little treatment and, as such, biological wines are growing a lot. We’re expecting very high quality,” he explained.

The CVRBI president estimated the region produces 23 million kilos of grape in this campaign, remembering that in 2022 “there was a collapse mainly due to extreme drought.”

“We had collapses mainly because of water shortage. This year, despite there being very high temperatures, I’d say we’re in a normal production year. Not an extraordinary year, but one that’s been within expectations,” he added.

Rodolfo Queirós reiterated that “as the saying goes, until the basket is clean it’s grape harvest.”

“And we have those harvests until the beginning of October, mainly in the areas of Pinhel and Figueira de Castelo Branco. But I believe this year, at this time, things are much better this year than last,” he recognised.

The harvest campaign had already begun at Cova da Beira, “which is normal, because the Portuguese climate is a bit warmer and the maturity date comes quick,” and also “for a bunch of grapes planted in Pinhel and Figueira de Castelo Branco.

About the availability of workforce for the vineyards, Rodolfo Queirós admitted it’s “a transversal problem” that also affects the sector, forcing some adaptation.

“At the moment, in the region, we’ll have close to nearly 20 machines. The producers are also adapting themselves so that the grapes can be harvested with machines,” he explained.

The CVRBI manager recognised that it’d “a demanding job, but if they can, people can choose another type of activity.”

“The question of machines is unavoidable and is here to stay” with the exception “of old vines and white bunches, where there is always the need for manual harvest.”

The CVRBI, headquartered in Guarda, covers the viticultural zones of Castelo Rodrigo, Pinhel and Cova da Beira, in the districts of Guarda and Castelo Branco.