Pedro Sousa Raposo
photography and cinema
Vila Real/Viseu, Portugal,2010
To look at the Douro is to feel the stunning and overwhelming scenery but it is also to feel the ones who inhabit it, the ones who made it and still make it to this day.
The truth is that this region being “rediscovered” now in a touristic and enthusiastic way, present in every guide, travel article and international ranking, has always been a hard, tough and painful place.
A place where sloped rocks were transformed into drawn and orderly terraces at the expense of much toil and much sweat.
The harvest of the grapes, which is done manually and with buckets, with great effort.
Of men and women.
Machines can’t replace them still. They still can’t fit and balance in such steep and jagged paths among vineyards, enclosures and planting fields.
The pruning is done in the winter when the steep schist paths are frozen and slippery.
The labour remains hard.
Today, as portrayed by photographers Emilio Biel and Domingos Alvão at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the scenery stands and so does the toil. Like the dignity of those who work here day after day, generation after generation, throwing themselves in the making of wines of great quality and recognition.