The 2006 viticultural year started very well with good winter rains that broke the two- year drought of ‘03 and ‘04. Budburst came a little late on 3rd April followed by generally good weather for flowering in May which was very dry and hot. In June, temperatures increased until a very severe hailstorm hit certain vineyards in the Pinhão and the Rio Torto valleys on the night of the 14th. In just 20 minutes several vineyards lost up to 30% or more of their crop. Fortunately, the Douro is made up of many sharply contoured hills and valleys, consequently numerous vineyards were shielded from this onslaught. After a very hot July, August started much cooler and a useful spell of rain fell on the 16th, 17th and 18th (47mm in all), usually an excellent omen for a good Port vintage. Picking began on the 11th September.