By now the 2022 harvest has settled; the wine is in stainless steel tanks. We used to use wooden barrels, but having a dominant wood flavor has gone out of fashion.
The ripening of our wines is now done in the bottle rather than in wooden barrels. Bottle-ripening is enabled by natural cork slowly letting in oxygen.
The rosé and white from the September 2022 harvest will be bottled this April, but the red wine needs more time: a year and a half. Bonjardim Red 2022 goes in bottles only in April 2024! This is because the wine continues to ferment a bit more in the tank.
Acidity, tannins, color intensity, alcohol and fullness (body) determine the quality of the wine. If these are all present in the wine, it will probably not be drinkable, but it has the potential to age to the highest quality.
To get these elements together, you need healthy ripe grapes and intensive maceration - contact between the grape skin and the juice. That contact takes place in granite "lagares’’, open tanks, where the must is foot-trodden. Then you have real contact with the yeast cells; you can tell by the temperature difference where fermentation is in full swing.
Mechanizing the grape treading risks breaking open the grape kernels, which would release too many tannins. The soft foot is thus ideal.
You could mechanize the whole process, add enzymes and add as many as 60 chemicals to get the wine technically perfect without labor. But then you lose terroir, authenticity, health and taste. Well, that's the difference between natural wine and conventional wine.