Lagaretas and its history – Caminhos Cruzados - A paixão do novo Dão

Lagaretas and its history

Did you know that Caminhos Cruzados is 10 minutes from a Lagareta full of history? For those who are fans of hiking and nature trips, this is one of the places we recommend visiting.

You are probably wondering what Lagaretas are. Where did they appear? What are worth for? We will try to answer these questions.

Where and how did they emerge?

Wine production partly accompanied human cultural and social evolution. There were several Mediterranean peoples, from the Phoenicians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, the nations of the Middle Ages, to the nations of today, who developed with this drink created through the fermentation of grape juice.

The presses, being a very important tool in winemaking during the harvest, are dispersed throughout the Mediterranean area. In Portugal they are found in granite areas, more in the Center and North of the country (Beiras and Douro).

Dão, the region with the granite outcrop, concentrates a very significant number of wine presses compared to other wine-growing regions. Just to give you an idea, in the municipality of Nelas, where Caminhos Cruzados is located, there are around a dozen caterpillars. One of which is the medieval Baroque Lagareta, located in the charming and noble village of Santar.

Regarding its dating, this is considered uncertain, as there are researchers who point its origins to the Roman or late Roman period, others refer to the High-Medieval or Medieval period.

What are worth for?

These reservoirs were used for crushing the grapes and collecting the must. There are some examples, which in addition to being used for wine production, may also have been used to produce olive oil.

What are?

 The caterpillars are slightly inclined and carved by hand into a higher rock, rectangular, square or round.

These constructions consist of a floor where the grapes were crushed, a drainage channel and the sink where the liquid fell. When there is no peep, it is concluded that the must would be collected in wooden or ceramic containers. In some more complex mills, there was also a third adjacent area called the Plate.

- The Piso or Calcatorium is a sink, shallow and excavated on an inclined plane, which was intended for crushing grapes using the traditional process of crushing them by the human foot.

- The Plate, adjacent to the Floor, has a circular and flat shape, communicating with the floor through drainage channels. The plate served as the basis for a mechanical pressing system and was intended for crushing the pomace, still rich in juice and tannins, difficult to extract in any other way.

- The Pius or Lacus, smaller and deeper, is an element separated from the previous one by a hole, which allowed the must to flow into it. In the end, the must was transported to larger deposits, closer to home, where fermentation took place.

What is the difference between Lagares and Lagaretas?

Larger, larger and deeper square or rectangular reservoirs, still used today, are usually called lagares, but they are located in closed spaces and are built, not excavated. While the caterpillars are smaller and shallower.

Text by
Louis Philippe

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