National Geographic : 1948 Nov
Joao Martins Whirling Skirts Balloon Like Doughnuts as P6voa Folk Perform a Ballet on the Sand Lighthearted Portuguese, with gay costumes and melancholy ballads, strive to preserve the simple life in the machine age. The vira, illustrated here, is a quadrilateral dance executed by two boys and two girls. year American roots receive a graft of native stock. Senhor Pimentel continued: "The vintage starts in September and October, when the grapes have ripened. They are carried to lagares, big stone tanks. Sulphur is added to help fermentation. Then treading begins. "Here the men, barefooted and barelegged, lock arms and tread back and forth, crushing the grapes. "Often they tread to the rhythm of ac cordion music. They are required to take every sanitary precaution. Violent fermenta tion guarantees purity. "Centuries old, the foot method crushes the grapes evenly and keeps the must (new wine) in steady movement. Machinery cannot equal the process; superior results can be obtained in no other way." Each day the must is permitted to rest. On the next it is retreaded. At the right moment the liquid is drawn into vats. Brandy, a fifth by volume, is added to check fermentation and preserve natural sugar. After 20 strenuous days treaders relax and enjoy a fiesta. Returning to Porto, I watched the tasting of port wine. To do so, I crossed the Douro to the suburb of Vila Nova de Gaia. There British and Portuguese merchants store wines in lodges (warehouses) for export. Managers of Casa Ferreirinha, one of the largest Portuguese firms, took pride in show ing me about their centuries-old lodges. As far as eyes could pierce the gloom mountains of cobwebbed casks stretched, and endless rows of bottles lay on their sides. I saw men testing, women bottling and labeling. Testers, sampling the flavor, do not swallow the golden nectar; instead they spit it into what must be the world's largest cuspidors. These are bowls of white porcelain raised to chin height. They reminded me of drinking fountains. Foster's Music Hails Portuguese Leaders My next journey took me to Braga, a city north of Porto. There Portugal was celebrating the Revo lution of 1926, which ended a series of revo lutions and installed the present stable Gov ernment. Co-leader of that revolution was Marshal Ant6nio Oscar Fragoso de Carmona. Though 79 years old (born November 24, 1869), he was still Portugal's President (page 592).