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Cellar Lagravera Alfarràs, the wine that come from stones

The vineyards grow in a stony land and the grapes are produced by organic agriculture. The small and young company aims to kick off its third vintage, which is expected to produce 50,000 bottles of organically certified wine.


16 August 2011 09:53 PM


ACN / Salvador Miret

Alfarràs (ACN).- Lagravera is a small, young winery from the protected geographical indication (PGI) of Costers del Segre in Alfarràs (near Lleida). Its philosophy of beautiful wine is based on the need for an organic approach, protecting the natural balance between human exploitation and the environmement. The main difference in technique is that the grape grows between stones in the vineyards, which itself is a converted natural gravel pit. Last year, Lagravera won several awards both for its wines and the design of its cellar, a former agricultural store. Last week, the company started its third vintage, which, it is hoped, will produce about 50,000 bottles of organically certified wine.

The project of converting a former natural gravel pit into a vineyard has been the dream of the Arnó family for more than ten years, following the discovery of this model of production in parts of France. But it was not until six years ago that they took the opportunity to purchase an old gravel pit in Arfarràs and start the restoration process. It is now the only one of its kind in Catalonia.

The vineyard Lagravera (the \u201Cgravel pit\u201D in Catalan language) grows between the southern slopes of the Serra Llarga near the Noguera Ribagorçana revier, between the counties of Segrià and Noguera. It is an area well known to those who are looking to obtain quality wines. 11.3 hectares, employing a strict organic policy, have been divided into14 plots where six varieties of grapes grow, both red and white.

The area experiences its own unique microclimate, characterized by low rainfall and a high contrast in temperature between winter and summer and between day and night. The vineyards are controlled by a highly advanced computerised system which regulates the water patterns and senses the humidity in each plot.

This winery is the first from the wine making region of Costers del Segre to use a cold treatment technique which lowers the temperature down to 4 º C throughout the entire processing of the grapes. Lagravera is committed to an organic and environmentally sustainable approach to making wine. For this reason the harvest is done manually; from the selection of the grape at the vineyard to the winery, says the CEO of the company, Sergi Garcia. The winery produces white and red wines under the names 'Ónra', 'Ónra moltaHorna' and 'Laltre'.

The winemakers seek to intervene as little as possible throughout the process, allowing nature to take its course. The winery also collaborates with the University of Lleida in wine research projects.

The market

In previous times, the Cellar Lagravera would sell their wines at local markets, (especially Lleida, in Catalonia) and export them abroad equally. Now however more are sold overseas, not out of necessity Garcia insists, but because it gives the company the additional value of international brand recognition. Currently most exports are directed to Europe and Asia, but the winery has also begun trading within the American, Canadian, Mexican and Brazilian markets.

The CEO acknowledged that after the recognition the company had obtained so far, the winery has the opportunity to increase production in order to supply the growing demand. Although the company has not ruled out the possibility of collaborating with other farmers in the area or expanding the current area of their vineyards, they have refused to cultivate more vines at the present. According to Lagravera, they must focus on their commitment to maintaining their standards and requirements to ensure a high quality product. Especially as, from this year onwards, Lagravera has also started a new project of ecological oil production.

An excellent
harvest is expected

On Thursday Lagravera gave the signal to start the third harvest, which, according to the head winemaker, Ivà Gallego, presents "excellent" possibilities. The cool temperatures with thermal contrasts of July have allowed the grapes to reach a "optimal" point of maturity, he says.

Although the harvest of grapes which will produce a white Sauvingnon is occurring earlier than usual, it is predicted to have a "very good balance of acidity and sugar" which, according to Gallego, will create a "very balanced" wine. This operation which requires 70,000  kilograms of grapes to be collected will result in approximately 50,000 bottles being made.

Awards and honors

In spite of its relative lack of experience, the last year Lagravera won several awards including, 'The mention in Innovation, Quality and Sustainable Development Awards' from the First Wine Routes of Spain Awards. It was the only Catalan winery awarded.

In addition, 'The Wine Advocate', one of the world's most prestigious publications in the field of wine, written by the American critic Robert Parker, awarded Lagravera a first grade classification, placing the 'Ónra black' as the best rated wine for under $20, while 'Laltre' achieved the best wine for under $10.

It also emphasised the uniqueness of the winery, which was designed by the architectural school, Sala Ferusic. The space was obtained from the conversion of an old family farm store, built in 1958, which nicely ties together the themes of tradition, modernity, economic sustainability and environmental design. In 2010 the design received the First Prize of the \u20183M 2010\u2019 from the Association of Architects of Catalonia in the category Interior Design & Temporary Assembly.

Wine Tourism

Taking advantage of the uniqueness of its facilities and the quality of its products, the winery has committed itself to promoting wine tourism. Typical activities include, visits to the winery and vineyards and tasting sessions. Gracia hopes that a first hand wine experience will increase the appeal of the wine industry which has suffered economically in recent years.


  • Lagravera cellar has been awarded for its innovative techiniques and design (by S. Miret)

  • An image of Lagravera cellar (by S. Miret)

  • Lagravera cellar will undergo its third vintage (by S. Miret)

  • Lagravera cellar has been awarded for its innovative techiniques and design (by S. Miret)
  • An image of Lagravera cellar (by S. Miret)
  • Lagravera cellar will undergo its third vintage (by S. Miret)