CAPÇANES, a village hidden away in the Priorato hills inland from Tarragona is the source of many fine wines today but has a long wine growing history.
The viticulture roots date back to the 13th century. Prior to Phylloxera, at the turn of the 19th century, the valleys were very densely planted. After the devastation caused by this insect, many farmers were seduced by the Spanish Industrialization, left the countryside and moved to the big cities. From a former Capçanes population of 2500 people, presently there are 400 left. Only about 1/5th of the original vineyards were replanted, predominantly with Garnacha. Some of those vineyards, approaching 100 years in age, still exist although yields are low
To compete in the wine market change was needed and in 1933 five families from the village collaborated to establish a Cooperative. The vineyards are small, the individual farmers too weak to face the growing demand of the Spanish wine industry. Grapes needed to be managed in a more economical and efficient way. The foundation of this “Joint venture” led to a change in the commercial prospects for Capçanes; suddenly they could offer large volumes at competitive prices for bulk sales. The first step was made, and during 50 years a modest and stable business was built up.
Slowly but surely more families joined the company. The cooperative processed most of the village´s production and the wine was sold off in bulk until 1980.
After Franco´s death in 1975, his military dictatorship came to an end and Spain opened itself towards Europe. It became a member of the European Community and finally of the European Union. New winemaking facilities were introduced to the country and the modest Capçanes cellar became old fashioned. Capçanes, as a result, during 10 years fall asleep as “Sleeping Beauty” did. In those years, 1985-1995, the new market demands forced Capçanes to give up the bulk wine production made in their obsolete installations. As a result, the winery began selling grapes to the renowned big players of the time. As a bulk wine producer, Capçanes had earned itself a reputation of being simple, cheap and “boring”. Further more, becoming just and only a grape source for others, was the lowest level of recognition a winery can reach. The saddest moment of the company history.
In 1995 the impetus for change came about when the Jewish community of Barcelona asked Capçanes if they could produce kosher wine under the most careful Lo Mevushal methode. The success of this wine, believed to be the best kosher wine in the world and one of the best wines in Spain, awoke worldwide importers to look at the winery more closely. Step by step a unique range of individual high end wines was developed. Capçanes became the pioneer and first known “ambassador” of the DO Montsant. Since then it is considered to be one of the leading Quality producers and references of Montsant.
At Capçanes two winemakers pool their talents. Anna Rovira is a young and talented winemaker in the winery and she is in charge of the vineyard control, too. Jürgen Wagner, having studied at Geisenheim and University of Tarragona, brings his experience to composing and styling the blends.