Vineyards along the river: Costers del Segre
The high summer temperatures have forced many wineries to advance the harvest. Farms under the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Costers del Segre began harvesting in early August and will last until mid-October, depending on their size and latitude. It seems this year’s crop will produce good quality wines thanks to the contrast of temperatures; hot during the day, cold at night.
Vines of the winery Castell d’Encús (Talarn)
Many wineries here share the experience of harvesting with its visitors. Such is the case of Castell d’Encús, located in the town of Talarn, 1,000 meters above sea level. They have the highest vineyards in the area. They began harvesting on August 22 and will go on until late September. Every Friday and Saturday throughout the year they offer guided tours with prior reservation. The good thing is that this time of the year you can see the twelfth-century fermentation stone cask filled with grapes. Apparently this casks help create wines with more complex aromas.
Stone fermentation casks at Castell d’Encús (empty and with grapes)
They have a small production, just over 6,000 bottles a year. Their grapes do really get a special treatment: No herbicides, pesticides, insecticides, except for those permitted under organic agriculture regulations.
Refurbished countryside house within the Costers del Sió estate
Another winery that organizes visits throughout the year is Costers del Sió, in the town of Balaguer. They began harvesting in early August; will continue throughout September and until mid-October. In total they will collect about 400.000 kilos of grapes in stages, waiting the right time for each variety to be picked up. The resulting wine will use grapes produced only in 72 hectares of their vineyards, approximately 10 % of the total extension of land.
Vineyards of Costers del Sió
The most fascinating feature about this winery isn’t the wine actually. It is the fact that they are self-sufficient. They run a livestock farm with cows and pigs, fed with their own sustainable crops of corn, wheat, barley and alfalfa. They produce olive oil and, to close the cycle, manage a sewage treatment plant. All integrated into a piece of beautiful land that can be explored during the visits. Must book in advance.
Vineyards of Lagravera in Alfarràs
Lagravera is another winery with an interesting proposal as well. Located in the town of Alfarràs they turned an old gravel pit into a very unique vineyard. They aim to produce quality ecologic wine to carry beyond their vines the characteristics of the gravel-based terrain, which adds a special flavor to the wine.
Vineyards of Lagravera located in what once was a gravel pit
Their harvest will be extended until mid-October. You can visit any day of the week. Must book in advance.
Tempranillo, una de las variedades de uva de la DO Costers del Segre
These are all the wineries with character. You can find out more about the variety of grapes used in their wines and other useful information, on the PDO Costers del Segre website. Also, the website of Ruta del Vi de Lleida Association will keep you in the know about these wineries and their latest news as well as a selection of restaurants and hotels in the area.