Portugal and Spain Grace Halter Ranch for Harvest 2012

Raquel of Portugal and Spain ‘s own Orestes smile while sorting fruit



Each fall at Halter Ranch we bring on a few interns to assist with the process of harvest and to share their knowledge while gleaning what they can by working with us.  This year we are privileged to have the help of two very experienced burgeoning Oenologists from Portugal and Spain respectively.  Raquel and Orestes arrived in mid-August and have helped us through one of our busiest and most compressed harvests yet.


Raquel pauses briefly between inoculations


Raquel Lopes hails from Barcelos, Portugal a small town in the Vinhos Verdes wine region that plays home to the famous Rooster of Barcelos.  Though her home is nearest Vinhos Verdes, Raquel has spent the majority of her time making wine in Alentejo, a region surpassed only by Douro in terms of fame and still red wine production.  She studied Microbiology at the Catholic University of Portugal in the college of Biotechnology and her senior thesis involved the study of how wine affects viruses in the human stomach.  In addition to her experiences making wine in Portugal, Raquel has spent time making wine in New Zealand.  When asked what her favorite winery experience was (prior to Halter Ranch of course ‘ ), she mentions Fundação Abreu Callado, a production in Alentejo that began during the 1950’s and which is the life of the town surrounding it, making beautiful wines in traditional methods.


Orestes pulling Cabernet Sauvignon Samples for the lab


Orestes arrived on our doorstep with a rich history of family winemaking in Spain.  His father’s winery, Bodegas Aurelio Mijan produces predominantly red still wines.  Orestes has spent time making wine in Spain, New Zealand, Chile, and now in California.  He received his undergraduate education from the Polytechnic University in Madrid, holds a degree in Oenology from time spent at University in Rioja, and has an MBA from a graduate program in Toledo.  Orestes would like to apply the innovations he has learned around the world to the business of making wine when he returns to Spain.

Both Orestes and Raquel have been integral to Harvest 2012 at Halter Ranch and we feel absolutely privileged to have had them helping make the wines while informally protecting the property from the safety of the old portable trailer each evening.

Keep an eye here over the next few weeks as harvest draws to a close.  The Halter Ranch staff will be tasting through flights of Spanish and Portuguese wines selected by Raquel and Orestes.  It will be exciting to experience their personal preferences from respective home countries.

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