“Lagar” means winery. But here they don’t just put the grapes in a machine, they stomp on them with their bare feet! And being such a proud people, we have to tell the world about our traditions.
Grape harvesting is an old tradition that still occurs to this day throughout the world, where grapes are picked by hand and processed using methods invented centuries ago and that were handed down from generation to generation.
The harvesting part hasn’t really changed in Portugal, hundreds of people still pick by hand the grapes in September, equipped with a bucket and a shear or strong scissors. But the processing part has changed a lot. In the old days, the grapes were placed into a large wooden vat where workers stomp on them using their bare feet, while singing and dancing.
We like to keep these traditions alive, that’s why throughout the country people celebrate the grape harvesting (which we call “vindimas”) and the stomping process, in events that can last for 3 or 4 days.
These particular festivities that I’m going to talk about are called “Lagarada” and take place every year since 2006, in September, in a small village in the North of Portugal, called Celeirós do Douro.
The goal of these festivities is to reproduce the environment, the traditions and the joy that were always present during these times, by showing how our ancestors used to work in the magnificent Douro region.
The grape stomping is done in a 200 year old building, with 8 wine vats, where visitors can stomp on the grapes! All over the village people can eat grapes for free or have glasses of wine for a small amount of money (it may be hard to believe, but nobody gets drunk!). There is also traditional food and live music in every corner, with accordions and drums.
Being a city girl, it’s nice to go to such events for a change. It also gives me an insight to what my grandparents’ life was like, which I find very inspirational.