2009 was a year of very low yields, partly due to the relatively small amount of fruit produced by all vine varieties and in part to the very dry summer.
The main stages in the viticultural cycle occurred earlier than usual, with bud burst taking place in the first days of March. The ripening season started in relatively cool weather which continued throughout July but this turned to extreme heat in August.
There was virtually no rain from July through to September which subjected the vines to stress in some more exposed areas of the valley. However, as usual, the old vines of the Vinha Velha, with their extensive root systems, were able to cope well with the heat. The harvest at Quinta de Vargellas started on 12th September but most of the selection and picking of the grapes used to make the Vinha Velha Vintage Port occurred between 15th and 17th.
The small amount of fruit and the dry summer meant that musts from the old vines were even more concentrated than usual, showing very high levels of sugar, tannin and colour.