Our farm is called Palomillo, after our family nickname, given first to my grandfather, then my father and now me. The Vineyard is located in Cabezo de Jara in the Sierra de las Estancias, in the Town of Vélez Rubio, at 980 metres of altitude. It is surrounded by protected walnut trees and organically grown almond trees. Our farm is surrounded by hills, untouched native plants, dirt tracks and dry river beds. There are also a number of native wild animals including rabbits, wild boars and eagles.
The area where the farm is located has a very low population density. In the vicinity you can find small cortijos (typical Spanish houses in the South of Spain) dedicated mostly to rural tourism and an exceptional rural hotel. If you are lucky, you will come across a typical Spanish farmer with his flock of sheep. The best thing of all is that there is not much phone coverage, making it the ideal place to disconnect.
Our vineyard is small and family run with just 3 people working here; My wife Ines Maria, Isabel Ortega, who helps us with sales and marketing and I, Francisco Garcia. Isabel has been working with us for two years, before that it was just my wife and I. At certain times of year, we contract temporary workers who specialize in vineyards to help us.
From this project, we are hoping to rekindle the production of wine like that produced centuries ago in the Sierra de las Estancias. The cultivation of grapevines was a tradition here during the Carthage Era until the Phylloxera plague arrived at the end of the 19th century, destroying all of the vines in the area. The plague made vine cultivation unviable for many years, and the local farmers substituted grapevines for almond trees and “forgot” how to make wine.
We acquired this farm in the year 2000 with the idea of moving forward with this specific project. A decade passed before the dream of having our own winery could materialise. The process was accelerated by the 2008 crisis, which affected us greatly since our main source of income was related to construction. We realised that we needed to diversify the family economy and decided to move forward with our passion. In 2010, we planted the current strains and whilst the vines were growing, we started the architectural project for the winery. In 2015 we were finally able to build the winery and in 2016 we sold our first wine. We have made a big investment to recover wine production in the area, which is only now beginning to bear its first fruits.
The farm is a rainfed crop, which depends entirely on rainfall, including winter snowfall. We have installed an auxiliary irrigation system that we use in extreme emergencies. If the year is extremely dry, or when the vines are very young, we can give them a "refreshment" in summer by carrying water from cisterns. All our vineyards are organically planted, so we undertake pest prevention using only authorised organic farming products. We control the growth of the grass manually, then it is left in the plantation lines to protect the soil from rosion, and to allow it to become compost, returning as nutrients to the soil. The vine shoots (pruned stems) are used as firewood in some of our client’s restaurants for the preparation of certain meals.