A walk through the vineyards to a stunning lookout point for a wine tasting and picnic.
The vineyard Clos d’Agon is located in the medieval town of Calonge (Baix Empordà). Calonge itself has a long history of producing wine and today, is one of the few towns left in Catalonia where you can still find the traditional grape growing and wine producing methods side by side with modern techniques. Literally, as you walk down the road on the left you have a beautiful modern vineyard, in this case Clos d’Agon and on the right-hand side, a very traditional, family run farm. Amazing!
This particular visit was organised under the V Harvest and Family Festival in Calonge. Several vineyards had prepared activities, from wine tasting courses to paired meals in restaurants; family-friendly tours in the vineyard and tastings in the town square. More information on these activities can be found on the tourism website for Calonge and Sant Antoni – this particular celebration coincides with the grape harvest each year in September.
But back to our tour…
We were greeted at the foot of the vineyards with a glass of Cabernet Franc must (the freshest grape juice you could possibly ever try!). As we drank and enjoyed the view the lovely guide, Laura, explained a little bit of history about the place.
It turns out that there is documented proof that the old farmhouse known as Mas Sabater actually used the land for grape growing and wine production as early as the 15th Century! The more modern-day history of the cellar began however in 1987 when a French couple bought the land.
They began by ripping out the vines and planting new ones that were more suited to the climate. 11 years later, a group of 6 Swiss friends bought the property and expanded the plantation to 16Ha. There are 5 red grape varieties planted (Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot) as well as 3 white grape varieties (Viognier, Marsanne and Rousanne). Recently they converted some of the plots to accommodate red, white and grey Grenache.
The modern cellar was built in 2002. Designed by Chus Manzanares, it’s functional design allows wine production to be done easily with the help of gravity. Grapes are received outside on a higher level and then processed below and put into stainless tanks.
After a little refreshment, we then set off on our little walk through the vineyard… and what a walk! All around the area you can find wild flowers, honeysuckle, wild herbs like fennel and that’s just proof of the care taken in the vineyard – no harmful substances are used and agriculture is limited to being as sustainable as possible. The historical and time-telling olive trees and cork oaks just take you back in time to when wine was originally produced on this land.
After walking for around 20 minutes we arrived at the old ruins and the lookout point. What a view!
From the top of the vineyard you can see all through the valley of Calonge, surrounded by the Gavarres mountains and out to the beautiful, blue Mediterranean sea. We stood sipping wine, the Amic blanc and the Amic rosé whilst gazing at the view. Standing there, so high up and looking down on the vines, on the town, it was almost as if you could imagine people cultivating the land hundreds of years ago.
We were offered a picnic bag each with a sandwich, fruit and water. In normal circumstances the food would have been a buffet stlye picnic but unfortunately this year, some things have had to be changed to ensure health and safety measures are met. What I loved the most about the picnic was the huge bunch of grapes we were given! Recently picked juicy, red grapes to eat whilst we gazed at the view. They really were delicious!
We were also lucky enough to visit the cellar on a day when they were harvesting the last of the grapes. It was busy with boxes coming and going, grapes being sorted etc. but this also meant that we couldn’t go inside the cellar.
The tour we did was in Spanish, but they do offer activities in English too. The cellar isn’t exactly the sort you can stumble upon whilst out for a drive, so make sure you book in advance and check their opening times. Follow them on social media and keep up to date with their new activities.
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