Establishing a New Vineyard

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Just over three weeks ago, right before the February full moon, we planted our new vineyard at Camp d’en Ventura, just outside Calonge (Santanyí/Mallorca), at the foot of the sloping hills of the Serra de Llevant. During that phase of the moon, the gravitational pull is lessening whist the moonlight strengthens and there tends to be more moisture in the soil. As it happened, we had to abandon our planting task due to excessive rainfalls and were obliged to wait for three days before we could send the planting tractor in again to continue the planting operation of our new rootstock.

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Whilst in our vineyard at Son Alegre outside Santanyí we have Chardonnay and Malvasía white grapes as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Petit Verdot blue grapes, we opted to plant vines with different grape varieties at Camp d’en Ventura, such as Callet red grapes and Giró Ros white grapes. In total, we planted some 5,200 vines over a total expansion of 18,000 square metres. The newly planted grapes won’t mature until 2017/18 and wine from the bunches of grapes will not be ready until 2018 at the earliest. Patience is the key ingredient in wine making and haste is your enemy number one.

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The soil here at Camp d’en Ventura is of a similar character to the one in Son Alegre. It is of the Call Vermell composition, which is a fertile clay loam formation containing plenty of iron oxide and lime. Here too, the land is equally interspersed with plenty of stones and small rocks, characteristically preserving humidity a little bit longer than soil of a different makeup.

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As at Son Alegre, we shall continue to farm our land at Camp d’en Ventura true to organic and ecological methods as laid down by the CBPAE (Consell Balear Regulador de l’Agricltura Ecològica – Balearic Council of Organic Agricultural Production). That means, no chemicals, no pesticides, no herbicides; that also means that we don’t use commercial fertilizers be that chemical or organic. If everybody uses the same commercial fertilizers, people shouldn’t be surprised when a lot of wine tastes similar. You always get out of things what you first have put in, don’t you think?

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As always, we shall also adhere to the principles of biodynamics according to Rudolph Steiner even though we have not yet been granted the certificate of DEMETER (International Demeter Processing Standards). That implies no ploughing with heavy machinery, the use of biodynamic compost produced from the pulp of grapes and other plant and mineral components plus our own organic manure, principally from our own flock of sheep. And of course we follow the cycles of the moon, a practice which has been adhered to already by our great-grandparents all those years ago. We allow a ground cover of wild flowers and grasses all year round, inviting insects, beetles and birds to take habitat and thus work the land and nourish the soil for us. It’s a long way to Tipperary but the journey, as always, has to start with the first step.

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We are looking forward to 2018 and we don’t mind having to be patient a bit until then.

Presenting A Perfect Gift From Nature

olives Son Alegre Mallorca

At Son Alegre we produce more than just wine. We are proud to say that in 2004 we planted over 1,000 olive trees of the Olea europaea species, bearing olives of the Arbequina variety. The Arbequina olive is considered to be one of the best in the world for consistency and productivity, as well as for the quality of its oil.

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Our olive trees are cultivated under 100 % organic conditions on our Son Alegre estate near Santanyí, where the coastal hinterland joins the rolling hills of the Mallorcan Serra de Llevant.

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Our careful and sustainable agrarian approach follows biodynamic principles without the use of any chemicals or non-organic fertilisers, resulting in a low yield but rewarding us with truly exceptional quality. Due to climatic conditions in 2014, only 2,000 kg of olives could be harvested, resulting in a mere 216 l of olive oil (9.25 kg of olives are needed to produce one single litre of our olive oil). Luckily, all our efforts resulted in a premium product of exceptional character, albeit of a very limited quantity.

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We are always particular about collecting our olives just before they reach maturity. We handpick the fruit and, for maximum freshness, deliver the olives personally to the tafona (oil mill) in Sóller on the same day, just a few hours after they have been harvested. As we do not yet have our own oil mill, we collaborate with the Cooperativa Agrícola de Sant Bartomeu in Sóller, famed for their gentle handling of olives and renowned for their output of oil of the best quality.

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Our oil is extracted by a high-speed centrifugal process from the olives, without the use of any chemical agents. The result of this process is SILEO, an Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Oli d’oliva verge extra) of a truly superior, organic quality. For added stability we include a modicum of wild olives (Olea oleaster) at a ratio of less than 0.5 %, giving our oil a subtle tang and a truly lucious fragrance.

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Our olive tree plantation is scrutinized by the rigorous criteria of the Conselleria d’Agricultura, Medi Ambient i Territori as part of the Govern de les Illes Balears. The quality of our oil production is supervised by the Institut de Qualitat Agroalimentària de les Illes Balears (IQUA) and the Consell Regulador de la Denominació d’Origen Oli de Mallorca, allowing us to classify our oil as Oli de Mallorca Denominació d’Origen protegida.

Before bottling, our olive oil is tested by an ENAC-laboratory (Entidad Nacional de Acreditación). Our 2014 SILEO oil was measured with a degree of acidity of 0.5%.

SILEO Extra Virgin Olive Oil is known for its creamy and flawless yet delicately intense fragrance.

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This year, SILEO is sold in small tin cans of 250 ml. Only 1000 cans are coming to the shops this month; there aren’t any more. That’s the way Nature does it.