Our farm is located in Las Casas de Joya, near Mures, a small town belonging to the municipality of Alcalá la Real. It has a total area of 3.63 hectares, in which we produce organically farmed vineyards with the red Graciano, Merlot and Syrah varieties and the white Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer varieties.
The plot also has forest land with holm oak trees and Mediterranean aromatic plants, such as thyme and rosemary. There is also a stream, where during the rainy season the water flows down. In the surroundings of our farm there is a sheep farm and an almond plantation. Mostly, it is a quiet farming area, where you can enjoy peace and relaxation.
The main economic activity in the region is olive growing for bulk oil production. However, complementary activities such as wine-growing are needed to diversify the workforce and counter the impact of the temporary nature of olive tree seasons. About 560 hours of work per hectare per year go into cultivating our organic grapevines, in complementary seasons to the olive groves.
In Mures, everyone knows 'arrañales' soils are best for growing grapes. That is why we bought this plot in 2002; so that we could have enough production to make my father's dream of starting his own winery possible.
As I mentioned, our vineyard is dry-farmed, however we do have a back-up irrigation system to prevent the plants from dying in times of extreme drought. The water is extracted from two wells on the plot, and we use a sub-surface drip-based irrigation system. With the help of solar energy, coming from solar panels that we installed on the farm, we extract the water.
This extra irrigation is essential in the early stages of plant development. After 10 years, the fully grown plant needs less water, because its root system learns how to search the subsoil for the nutrients.
After the winter is when the weeds begin to grow, which we manage with brush cutters, leaving a spontaneous crop cover that favours the structure of the soil. This allows us to prevent erosion and make better use of the rain during spring. Leaving spontaneous crop cover also promotes the biodiversity of natural plant species.
The project involves my father, Marcelino (who helps me in the entire production process of making the wine and looking after the vineyard), an administrative assistant who works in the office in our town, Alcalá la Real, and me, the company manager. We also hire field workers for the busier seasons to help with the workload. This team has been with us since 2017. All workers have an employment contract and receive their corresponding wages as agreed in their contracts. We provide all the facilities they need in accordance with legislation, and we always adapt to their needs.
The residue or by-products of the wine-making process, the lees and marc, are dealt with as follows: I am required by law to take the lees to a distiller. We store the lees in 25-litre jugs at the end of the season and take them to a distillery in Castilla la Mancha. The marc obtained after pressing the grape vines is left to dry. We then sift and collect the pips, which we keep in bags for recycling and put in the boiler to heat the family home.
When we prune the vineyards, we chop the pruning remains from the branches and incorporate them into the soil as organic matter.
We do a lot of wine tourism at our winery. The tastings and tours are hosted by my father Marcelino and me. He helps me with the tour and serves the wines for the tasting session. We recommend you organise a holiday to visit us, enjoy our wine tasting and pairing sessions, stroll through the vineyards and explore our beautiful town, Alcalá la Real, which has a wine-making past.