The grape harvest
A few weeks after summer’s end, it’s time to bring in the grapes – a vital moment in the economy of certain Spanish regions. Vineyards are abuzz with activity as workers prepare to conjure Spain’s most prized elixir: wine.
It’s a tradition that dates back to the Neolithic period. The ancient Egyptians would find today’s process remarkably familiar, judging from etchings found on pyramids where pharaohs were interred alongside earthenware vessels filled with wine.
In ancient Greece, the grape harvest was a highlight of the calendar and the occasion for a rollicking festival in honour of Dionysius, god of wine and agriculture. In imperial Rome, where wine lovers paid homage to Bacchus, much of the work was done by women.
Later, in the Middle Ages, wine was rarely produced outside of monasteries and castles. By modern times, winemaking had evolved into a precise science. Varieties from Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne (France) were acquiring their familiar prestige, and vineyards began using glass bottles sealed with corks to preserve their wares.
Wine has been a big part of Spanish culture for centuries. A national passion, it’s particularly important in certain renowned winemaking areas awarded Designations of Origin (DO), such as La Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Rueda, Jerez, Priorat and Rías Baixas. Not to mention Penedès, which produces both white and red wines but is best known for its sparkling Cava, another prestigious DO.
Live your passion
Whether you’re a connoisseur of the pleasures of a rare vintage or find yourself seduced by the Spanish vineyard landscape, we have a number of special properties that will land you right in the heart of winemaking country.
First up is this luxurious manor house, now exquisitely restored. Located in La Rioja, the property has been refurbished to an impeccable standard and is surrounded by enchanting gardens, with wonderful views over the Oja Valley and Sierra de la Demanda.
This extraordinary period mansion is set in the heart of la Rioja Alta. A palatial eighteenth-century jewel, it offers 11 bedrooms and charming gardens with pool. For several centuries, it was home to Spain’s most gilded nobility and esteemed archbishops.
In Valladolid, cradle of the celebrated Ribera del Duero wines, we find this unique historic home arrayed in a ravishing estate. This truly one-of-a-kind period mansion boasts beautiful gardens; the famous Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset spent many a summer here.