Vinalopó Grapes (DO)

Hondon Valley of the VinesThe cultivation of bagged (eating) grapes with the denomination of origin ( DO) in the Vinalopó region is confined to the towns of Agost, Aspe Hondon de los Frailes, Hondon de las Nieves, Monforte del Cid, Novelda and La Romana. These grape producing towns are all in south western province of Alicante (Costa Blanca South, Spain). The land area dedicated to growing grapes is approx’ 2,400 hectares.

The cultivation of the vine in this region has a very characteristic appearance with many strains. You will see vine branches have paper bags covering the grape clusters to protect them from pests and the extreme weather. They grow from April to December with harvests from October onwards.

Enrique Gandia is the manager of the Cooperative Novelda, founded in 1948 , currently comprises some 450 member producers of table grapes varieties whose fall from the earliest to the later . “The grapes in this region account for nearly 95% of agricultural production and the most cultivated variety is undoubtedly is the Aledo grape, which is the one taken during the twelve clock chimes each new year.”

But there are also other varieties that are highly respected in the area as muscat or Italian Rossetti. “The muscat table grapes grown here is different from the muscat wine making . This has the largest grain and softer skin and is especially sweet , but so is the other.“, says the manager of the Agricultural Novelda adding that lately is spreading “Red Globle variety , which as its name suggests has a big red bead and comes to increasing the range of bagged grape supply premium quality.” In this regard, accurate Enrique Gandia now is studying the implementation of the seedless grape, since it relies on having a good reception by the consumer. In any case, in this region, the grape enbolsada DO Vinalopó is almost a monoculture that excludes diversification. “Years ago the cooperative also produced almonds but over the years has been declining . And now you try to implement something of apricot, but very slowly.” says Gandia.

In terms of volume of production can be said that in recent years there has been increasing thanks to demand from emerging countries like Russia was in our case. What has been achieved is to produce more on less land itself because before that there was more acreage . This more intensive attempts to alleviate production costs going up disproportionately without then be passed on product prices.

Although the great enemy called drought this year and will represent a very significant loss. Gandia figure the drop in production by up to 25 % of the total. “We have all but drip irrigation communities have warned us that as of September can have serious supply problems for the future. This is a tremendous year since the last rains of last August have fallen just 10 liters in all these months . And this happens after a year like 2013 that was outstanding for us,” he says.

Our annual production is around one million kilos , which is not much compared to other locations in the OJ Vinalopó such as Monforte . But the cooperative not only creates jobs with the crop , since there is also a section of factory supplies and paper bags. These bags are used to maintain the clusters. Then there’s the vintage , thanks to the different varieties starts in August and does not end until January. We cut , select and store the grapes to the time of sale , that in 95 % of cases for export,” he concludes .