Olives, wine and cork

These are three products from the fifth generation family business we visited between Fátima (creepy) and Tomar (nice).

The wife, Rita, is the fifth generation of the family and she and her husband welcomed us. They showed us the old steam-operated machinery formerly used to operate the olive press. This job is now done off the farm at a commercial press.

Harvest is in November, but equipment used to harvest was there to show us how it is done. They don’t use machines, but have a willing seasonal workforce of locals. This tree is over 400 years old.

We tasted their olive oils, with bread, cheese, prosciutto and their own wine as accompaniments.

Rita demonstrated the head decoration she carries in the Festa dos Tabuleiros every four years. The men walk beside them to steady the heavy baskets.

We were impressed by the hard work and knowledge of this lovely couple.

They also showed us their wine making operation. There are vats at the back of the barn for treading the grapes. This method still produces the best wine as feet are gentler on the grapes than machinery. The seeds don’t get crushed and add acidity when feet are used. The area has to be well-ventilated during the crushing as the CO2 can give you a headache. It is also a good idea to wash your legs thoroughly after treading, finishing with alcohol, to prevent itching.

If you look closely at this photo, you can see that the roof tiles of the barn are directly on the wooden rafters.

We had a wine tasting and a number of us bought wine. We all thought they needed to increase their prices, particularly for tourists, considering that their profit margin is narrow and the wine is very palatable. We were also impressed by their passion for what they do, the fact that it is a family business and that it is a valuable part of the community in providing work.

You can look at pretty villages and historic monuments and enjoy boutique hotels, but it is people who warm the heart.

This plaque on a barrel caught my attention. It is a humorous Ten Commandments of winemaking.

Cork trees are grown on the estate and the cork is used to make corks for their wine.

They hope that their two daughters will continue the business into the next generation. One of them is particularly keen and works with her grandfather on the farm.