The oldest winery in Valencia and the fourth oldest in Spain celebrates 250 years of continuous production...
Spain, as a major producer country, has a long history of grape cultivation and wine making. Some of its wineries are among the oldest in the world. One of these historic sites is in La Comunidad Valenciana, Bodegas Los Frailes, the oldest winery in Valencia and the fourth oldest winery in Spain. Founded in 1771, this year celebrates 250 years of continuous wine production.
Fontanars dels Alforins, where the farm is located, is a small municipality in Valencia, with a population of only 1,000, known for its wines. Together with La Font de la Figuera and Moixent, it is part of the magic triangle known as Terres dels Alforins, which has been awarded the Denomination of Origin of Valencia trademark.
This is a privileged area for the cultivation of vines. Shielded in the foothills of the Vall d’Albaida and exposed to the Mediterranean climate, it produces some of the best wines in Spain. The winery is spread over 162 hectares with vineyards, Mediterranean forests, almonds and olive trees at an altitude of 650-700 metres above sea level. The average age of the native Monastrell grapes is around 40 years.
Wine production in this region began in the 13th century after the expulsion of the Moors. Not much is known about the farm before the 18th century, but it has historically been recognised that it belonged to Jesuit friars who also produced wine.
The Velázquez family bought the house and the existing vineyards at public auction, and production has never stopped since then. In the course of 250 years, 13 generations have taken care of it. Although Bodegas Los Frailes has officially been declared the fourth oldest winery in Spain, it may well be the second oldest. According to historians’ estimates, the farm was producing wine long before this purchase, some say, maybe for another 100 years. However, there are no official documents available. The Jesuits who owned the farm followed the fate of the order, officially expelled from Spain after the battle of Esquilache in 1767. All their properties passed into the hands of the Crown, and four years later the farm appeared at an auction.
Nowadays, Bodegas Los Frailes is a modern farm, one of the first in this area known for organic farming. The farm is famous for its Monastrell wines, particularly Los Frailes Monastrell, Los Frailes Monastrell-Garnacha, Los Frailes Naturel and Los Frailes Monastrell Rosé. One of their white wines, Blanc de Trilogía, is recognised as one of the most prestigious white wines in La Comunidad Valenciana. Another significant wine is the Monastrell wine simply named 1771, a tribute to the origin of the estate and well known throughout the province.
Even if you’re not a wine lover, this farm is worth a visit because of its historical importance. There is a shop on the farm, open from 9-2 to 3-6 on weekdays, and tours are organised at noon on Saturdays. This tour includes a walk through the vineyards, a visit to the old winery (anfors and concrete tanks), new facilities and two wine tastings. The tour lasts for about an hour and a half.
© The Oldest Winery In Valencia Celebrates This Year – TheValencian