The winter preceding the 2015 harvest was unusually dry. Rainfall in the winter months was only about two-thirds of the ten-year average but there was fortunately enough precipitation in October and November to ensure the vines were adequately supplied with water. The dry conditions continued into spring and, although this resulted in below average yields, it ensured that the crop remained completely free of disease. In fact, the grapes remained perfectly healthy right up to the harvest.
The early summer was very hot, with temperatures above 40°C being recorded on several days at Quinta de Vargellas in late June and early July. After that, the ripening conditions remained warm, dry and relatively even, with no excessive peaks of temperature. As a result, the condition of the crop will be remembered by the Vargellas wine makers as one of the best of recent years, with perfectly formed, disease-free bunches and very little raisin in spite of the dry year.
Picking started at Quinta de Vargellas relatively early on 7th September. The wines from most of the finest areas of the property had been made by 15th and 16th, when there were two days of rainfall, although this in fact made no difference to the quality of the Port as very fine wines continued to be made throughout the harvest. Cool night time temperatures allowed for long fermentations and good extraction.