Until quite recently, the Douro was rather isolated and self sufficiency at the Quinta was, and still is, a great advantage. As long as anyone can remember, there have been pigs at Quinta do Noval. The pig farm overlooks the Nacional vines and the pigs act as 'watch dogs' over the harvest. Fed on the fresh wild figs that grow nearby, they also provide the most delicious ham and pâté.
'The Noval pigs take the air twice a day, once in the morning around 8.30am and again at the end of the afternoon. Blissfully happy rooting around on this elevated balcony, with a glorious view across the valley, their snortling and drain like grunting reverberates on the still morning air. Treated with gentle respect they enjoy a splendid existence housed in their deluxe sty high in the Nacional vines. This form of compassionate farming is seldom seen and though their fate is predetermined, the thoughtfulness of their temporary guardians sets a fine example to piggy proprietors elsewhere.' Quoted from the Quinta do Noval Harvest Diary by D. Eley