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Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Sierra de Gredos, as a Wine Region

I’ve heard that wines from Sierra de Gredos are fashionable these days and that it’s the up-and-coming next big thing! But I’m not so sure. I suspect that it’s just some sort of media hype, or meme, or runaway phenomenon that has taken on a life of its own, because there is absolutely nothing new happening on the ground! I’ve been working there for 4 years now.

Sadly, there are no new wineries opening up; there are no new winemakers moving in; the vineyards are still being torn up like every year;

This is extremely annoying because the Sierra de Gredos really does have everything going for it as a wine region:

-                 Soil. Mostly granite covered with a topsoil of sand. But thanks to geological upheavals millions of years ago, there are also some interesting outcrops of slate

-                 Altitude. Mostly between 600 and 1200 m above sealevel

-                 Slopes. North-, south-, east-, west-facing. Take your pick

-                 Rivers. Alberche, and Tietar plus numerous streams and tributaries

-                 Temperature ranges. Yes! Big differentials between day and night temperatures. And between summer and winter temperatures

-                 Rainfall. Perfecto! Enough at the right times. Basically, 0% probability of rain during harvest. (Well, let’s just say <0 .5="" be="" o:p="" on="" safe="" side="" the="" to="">

-                 Long grape-growing tradition

-                 Interesting grape varieties to work with. The emblematic varieties are Garnacha (red) and Albillo (white), but there are several other varieties that are completely unused, unappreciated and scorned (Doré, Chelva, Morenillo, Villanueva, ...)

That seems to cover everything. But wait! There’s something really important missing, and it’s called... “winemakers”!  
Here’s a quick-n-dirty comparison with another region, of the same size, more or less - Burgundy:

Burgundy (France)
Sierra de Gredos (Spain)
Size, in kms
120 km x 20 km
150 km x 75 km
Size, in hectares planted to vines
 3,500 and shrinking
DO’s or AOC’s
Independent winemakers
Bulk wine cooperatives
Négociants / Merchants

How strange! Why are there so few winemakers in a region with the size and wine-making potential of Sierra de Gredos? Go figure. I have no idea. Any suggestions welcome.

And another question I have is ‘What to do about it?’  This question is probably even more difficult to answer!


  1. Not completly right all that you have written down, but I understand what you mean. You have to realise that we are just starting, and we are doing things for our legacy not for ourselves. Or, going in with that comparison, do you think that Burgundy was nuit in one day? Ir even in one century? Things are happening, not as fast as we would like, but:
    - DOP Cerberos will start to certify wine as such in harvest 2017. This will start stopping ripping out some of the mayor part of the vineyards (2500 Ha). The other two DOs that make Sierra de Gredos, Madrid and Mentrida, are already doing that work.
    - There is some movement going around with new producers that are settling in the area with bigger or littler projects, but all very interesting
    - We have the biggest and the most interesting negociant of our country making wine in the area and selling wine in primeur
    - And the rest is out there. The Vineyards ....

    We only need time, patience and work all together towards a común feeling: GREDOS!!

    Daniel Ramos

    1. Daniel, well, I suppose it's not all as bad as I make out in my post! But still, I find the lack of vignerons in Sierra de Gredos quite depressing!

  2. Falta promoción


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