Heroic viticulture is a reality for small geographic cracks with a special charm and very complex particularities for the development of winemaking activity.
When work in the vineyard is a risky activity due to the complicated terrain of the terrain and the difficult task of maintaining the vineyard and harvest, we speak of heroic viticulture.
An artisan work on vines rooted in steep terrain , they are still present in magical enclaves of our peninsular territory.
The surroundings of the Sil river canyon, between Lugo and Orense, with whimsical vineyards adorned by thousand-year-old vines, define the heroic viticulture of the Ribera Sacra .
In Asturias, Cangas wines are nourished by vineyards as complicated as they are mysterious and captivating.
The viticulture of the island of Hierro, of Priorat in Catalonia or of Arribes del Duero are also examples of these vineyards.
From the ancestral tradition of the terroir, where man overshadows the machine and hands give essence to wines .
What is heroic viticulture?
Heroic viticulture is the type of viticulture care and exploitation developed in difficult terrain , with slopes of 30% or more. The work in these redoubts is complicated and reckless.
The work is artisan , carrying out maintenance of the vineyard and a grape harvest during the manual harvest.
In Europe only 5% of the vineyard area is defined with these characteristics.
In 1987 an association of winegrowers with hardly accessible vineyards was founded, with the aim of preserving and promoting traditional activity and with it the oenological culture.
In 2011, the association created an international organization, CERVIM (Center for Research, Study, Recovery, Coordination and Revaluation of Mountain Viticulture).
Any heroic wine farm must meet certain characteristics to qualify for the CERVIM seal :
- Height above 500 meters above sea level.
- Slope of the terrain greater than 30%.
- Arrangement of terraced vines.
- Vineyards on small islands.
- Other valuable determining factors are: an orography that does not allow mechanized work, extreme weather conditions or that the grape varieties are rare.
Normally, these vineyards have centuries-old vines that give the wine an identity to the terroir and with native grapes that add very personal nuances to the wine.
Where do we find heroic viticulture in Spain?
In Spain we find heroic viticulture, perhaps the most representative, in Galicia , specifically in the Ribera Sacra .
In Asturias they also have vineyards of these characteristics. They make wines protected by the Cangas Protected Designation of Origin .
The territory takes us to the past, with vineyards occupying small residual spaces with a lot of unevenness and difficult access and with extreme climatic conditions.
The DO Priorat y Montsant also makes wines from heroic vineyards, where the rolling hillsides are formed by rocks that are 400 million years old.
In Malaga , we can find vestiges of the oenological past in remote places at more than 700 meters of altitude.
On the island of El Hierro and in Tenerife they enjoy some vineyards of this type.
Also in the Canary Islands, the island of Lanzarote has vineyards at more than 1700 meters above sea level, in volcanic territory.
Finally, Arribes del Duero are other lands where we can appreciate the peculiar landscapes that this type of vineyard leaves us.
Its presence in the Ribera Sacra (Galicia)
The Ribeira Sacra is the Denomination of Origin par excellence for heroic viticulture .
The vineyards are located on sloping terraces on the steep slopes around the Sil river.
Appreciating the landscape of these places is unique. The staircase that decorates the slopes that go down to the river, the passion of the winemakers who work these vines, the centuries-old vines and the magic of the landscape make Ribera Sacra wines a true luxury.
Surely after reading this article you are evaluating the possibility of trying a good heroic wine. Good choice!
Enjoying a wine made with grapes from centuries-old vines that occupy magical spaces, which have been harvested by hand and whose quality of the broth is guaranteed, convinces anyone.
Heroic viticulture gives us excellent quality-price wines . Look for their personality and feel their identity. It is sure to be a pleasant experience.