Finca Viladellops

The history of a winery tied to a village

 

“The Desvalls family has been tied to the land, and this is my commitment: to continue to respect and care for it.”

Marcelo Desvalls

An estate certified as 100% organic, with 60 Ha of its own vineyards of indigenous Xarel·lo and Garnatxa grapes, on a property of 400 Ha.

The history

Finca Viladellops is located near the Olèrdola castle, in the Penedès wine region, 45 km. from Barcelona. The origins of Olèrdola go back to the Iberians, and its historical and strategic importance have continued over time—during the medieval period, it was a city on the border of the Muslim world.

On the mountainside around the winery, you can see plots of olive and almond trees as well as vineyards, crops that have been the property’s agricultural base since time out of mind.

The Winery

The first written references to making wines to sell on the Finca Viladellops date back to the end of the 19th century, specifically to 1877, and production continued without interruption until 1980.

Activity started up again in 1999, coinciding with the incorporation of the current generation of the Desvalls family into a new, quality, 100% Mediterranean wine-making project. Wines that seek to transmit a typical spirit by using the area’s indigenous varieties as their basis: Garnatxa for red wines, and Xarel·lo for whites.

“The Desvalls and Catalonia” Interpretation Centre

The centre shows the trajectory of the family and the history of Catalonia based on textual, graphic, and photographic documentation from the Desvalls archives. This is a pioneering cultural project, a collaboration between the public and private sectors that places value on documentary sources within their territorial context, in this case the Alt Penedès county.

The documentary sources in the Desvalls family archives range from the year 981 to 1983.
It’s made up of 4,529 parchments, 289 archival boxes with manuscripts and documentation on paper, 554 images (172 glass plates, 377 black and white positive prints and 5 colour positive prints), and 203 maps and drawings on cloth, parchment, paper, and vegetable paper.

Marcelo Desvalls

Finca Viladellops has always been a sentimental project. I was born near the vineyards, and my childhood was linked to the land. I would like and I hope to leave a legacy and pass it on to the next generation. From the beginning, I have passionately sought to respect the land and sustainability and, along with my team, I have tried to make quality wines that express the magic of the Garraf Massif.

Saint John’s Chapel

This is a chapel with a rectangular nave, restored by the owner of the property in 1950. Built in a Romanesque style, it dates back to the 13th century. The western façade has a door with a rounded point, and a porthole with a double splay. It has a bell gable. The baroque sacristy was added later to the façade. The old altar stone, with holes for relics, has been placed outside with a stone foot, and mass is held there when there are too many people to fit inside the chapel.

In 1951, the grandfather of the current owner, Marcelo Desvalls, christened the bell tower with the name Margarida in honour of his wife.

11th-century Tower – (Asset of Cultural Value)

A building located inside the Finca Viladellops, declared an Asset of National Cultural Interest. It is located on the grounds of a large country home attached to a small building. The tower is round, built with irregular ashlars arranged in horizontal rows. The place was first mentioned in the year 976, in a donation of land located within the district of the Olèrdola castle.

The height to the first floor, from the outside, must be about 7 metres. It’s made up of irregular stones, and inside one can find an “opus spicatum.” The building attached to the western side of the tower is considered a prison, or, for some, the old St. John’s chapel. It’s 4.5 metres long and 180 cm high.

The Village

The centre of the village of Viladellops dates back to 930, when Count Sunyer re-conquered the Olèrdola castle and lands were granted to repopulate and create new settlements. The perfectly built medieval tower, which served as fortification and communication with the Olèrdola castle, dates back to this time.

The patron saint of Viladellops is Saint John, in honour of the Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, which built the Viladellops chapel at that time.
The village is currently made up of 18 masies (the country homes that are typical of the area) which makes the village look much as it did 100 years ago, as the architecture and surroundings have been entirely preserved.

The Vineyards

The property of Finca Viladellops consists of 500 hectares in the middle of the Garraf Massif, Mediterranean forest land, also growing grain, and with 60 hectares of vineyards registered as belonging to the DO Penedès. A significant number of vestiges of the area’s traditional agriculture remain on the estate, such as dry stone huts (a total of 25 buildings), stone borders, and wells dug into the stone, things that show the estate’s important agricultural tradition since time out of mind.

Terroir: Finca Viladellops is located on the Garraf Massif, a mountainous massif that extends all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. On the estate, located 250 metres above sea level, with very poor soil with a clay-lime texture, with a high percentage of active lime, there are a number of sediments and sea fossils, an unequivocal sign that it once formed a part of the ocean floor.

Climate: Due to the proximity of the Mediterranean Sea (10 km), during the months of August and September, there is a morning humidity that benefits the vineyard by providing moisture, lengthening the ripening time of the grapes and achieving optimal polyphenolic ripeness. This natural rehydration requires a very orderly, clean manner of wine-making in order to avoid rotting.

Ecology: Finca Viladellops has preserved its land, architecture, and surroundings for many years. Following the owner’s philosophy, the entire vineyard has been registered with the Catalan Council of Organic Agrarian Production (the CCPAE), so the wines are officially certified as organic wines.

Typicality: Following the vineyard’s tradition and roots, the project of Finca Viladellops defines itself as 100% Mediterranean and indigenous, preserving and protecting the area’s traditional varieties: Xarel·lo for white wines, and Garnatxa for red ones.