Sustainability

Sustainability

The harvest starts! Heat, drought, wild boars and all the variables you know make this year special. The harvest is a few days ahead and we have already started to collect the varieties of the plan and also the red hawthorn from Mas Marès.

August, the days are shorter and the heat seems to be giving us a break, at least at night. However, the high temperatures in July and the drought we are experiencing -it hasn’t rained hard for many months- have meant that exceptionally this year we had to advance the harvest by a good week.

We say exceptionally, but we know that this reality can be the general tone in the years to come. Climate change is unstoppable and we feel that we must adapt to it as best we can. Making progress in an integrated management of the territory, which takes into account the climatology, soil conservation and the fragile balance of the ecosystems, will favor that we can reap the benefits in the future as well. That is why, since we started the Mas Marès project, we decided that we would do everything possible to preserve the legacy that we as humans have received from nature. Land near the sea, with low bushes, corks and now also vineyards that favor the control and protection of unique species of Cap de Creus.

In these lands where Anna Espelt’s most personal project is built, a few years ago we planted Grey Grenache, with grafts from the old vines of Rabós. This week is the grape we start to harvest, this local variety of Grenache that is rosé. Planting local varieties has for some time been the most suitable decision for our land: they are more adapted to the territory and will therefore need less water and withstand the wind.

Emporda varieties, unique terroirs and a vintage that is just beginning. Happy harvest everyone!

Last Friday, Anna Espelt was on the special program of El Món a Rac1 from Llançà. With Anna Vallhonesta we talked about viticulture and traveling the world and returning to Born. Of what we have learned and of all the work we have left to do.

Anna Espelt el món a rac 1
Anna Espelt in El Món a Rac1

We are always glad to explain our work. Our land, the sea and the mountains, is what defines us and what marks the wines of the Empordà. Explaining ourselves and the territory means talking about our wines and understanding them a little more. We took a look at the why of the integral management between natural parks and vineyards and we talked about how we manage them to promote biodiversity in the lands we cultivate and about the sea, the tramuntana and the sun. Three key aspects that accompany us and that define our wines.

You can relive the interview and tell us about!

Slightly earlier than other years, the vines begin to change their colors. The color change of the grapes occurs when the last phase of fruit ripening begins. When the grapes start to appear ripe, it’s time to wait and see all the colors.

Grenache vine

Last year we told you about the small differences in the changing color time of the different terroirs we take care of. We are sure that this year the progression of this phenomena will be broadly similar, from the most flat terroirs to those of higher altitude.

However, the high temperatures of these days and the lack of rain, make us suspect that the whole maturation process is advancing slightly. We know that stopping climate change is not in our hands, we try to study what abrupt changes the climate emergency is causing. The conclusions we reach is that local varieties are more resilient to high temperatures, drought, wind. Therefore, they are also the ones who with less effort will be able to live happily in our terroirs. The changing colors arrive, little by little, but evenly. The viticultural work is done, for now. Now that the vines are in a new periode, all that remains is wait and see. In a few weeks we will be able to harvest these tasty fruits.

The work that the artist presents this weekend plays with color and has a clear provocative intention. The artist offers a particular view of the garden and the products of the land. In addition, he reflects on historiography, identity, tradition and Catalan cuisine.

Ernest Abentín, Ernest Abentín, photographer born and resident in Barcelona, works on both sides of the border (Empordà and Catalunya Nord). His work focuses on culinary themes and he has worked as an assistant to Francesc Guillament, renowned gastronomic photographer of the creations of El Bulli, Bodega de Can Roca or the chef Paco Pérez. During his stay in Paris he had contact with the world of dance and hence his interest in the body, movement and dance.

On a more personal level, Abentín has dedicated himself to photography about the territory, the people and gastronomy from a daily and local point of view. The food, the typical and homemade product receive a very personal look that goes beyond the photography of gastronomic dishes.

The Croma Catalana exhibition is precisely this x-ray of localism, eating, rituals, local products, the simplicity of customs. A vision of the territory and the people from a chromatic point of view.

Vivid is here with two activities: Nature in the Espelt vineyards and Wines and Landscapes in Cap de Creus. These are the activities we have prepared for the wine tourism festival in the Empordà during the month of April. Wine is made on land. Come and taste Espelt wines while discovering the nature around us.

Espelt Viticultors presents two activities at the Vívid, the wine tourism festival in the Empordà that takes place during the month of April.

The first activity is a walk through the vineyards of Mas Marés to learn about the management of the territory through agricultural systems of high natural value, a mosaic that protects and ensures the biodiversity of the area. We will get to know the area of Mas Marés and Pla de Gates, recently affected by a forest fire that was stopped thanks to the integrated management we do of these lands. We will also discover the fauna and flora that coexist harmoniously and that make us aware of the need to take care of the territory, the most precious legacy we have.

The second activity is with the collaboration of the IAEDEN (Alt-Empordà Institution for the Defense and Study of Nature). We invite you to make an itinerary on foot through the vineyards of Vilajuïga to discover all the natural treasures which are hidden in the framework of the Vivid Festival. With the ornithologist David Ibáñez, and in the midst of the bird migration season, we will have the opportunity to observe birds returning from the warm lands after winter. We will also identify aromatic plants that coexist among the strains, and if we are lucky otters!

During the two walks with Anna Espelt, director of Espelt Viticultors, we will taste wines that come from the vineyards that we will be visiting, and that Anna and her team work so hard to have all this natural richness. At the end of Natura’s itinerary in the vineyards, we can also pair them with a table of local cheeses from the Abricoc store.

Practical information activities:

Wines and landscapes of Cap de Creus

Nature in the Espelt vineyards

Des que el 2004 vam començar a plantar vinya a Mas Marès, al Cap de Creus, sabíem que volíem respectar al màxim l’ecosistema existent i fins i tot aportar-li més riquesa. Us expliquem què és el mosaic i com el treballem a Mas Marès fins crear el que s’anomena tècnicament un sistema agrari d’alt valor natural.

Ja fa quasi vint anys que vam comprar les vinyes de Mas Marès. De seguida ens vam posar en contacte amb el Parc Natural del Cap de Creus per treballar conjuntament en la gestió d’aquell tros de territori. Les vinyes estarien inserides en un espai natural que estimem, calia fer-ho bé. A més, conscients que la mà dels ésser humans hi ha estat present des de fa milers d’anys (dòlmens i menhirs ho certifiquen) calia una gestió integrada de totes les terres.

Mas Marès i tot el Cap de Creus és un paisatge que meravella a tothom que ens ve a conèixer. Darrere de la bellesa hi ha sí o sí una gestió, imprescindible. El 2004 amb l’ajuda de Xavi Vilavella, tècnic del Parc Natural en aquell moment, i de l’Anna Sanitjas, enginyera forestal que va fer el projecte tècnic de gestió i millora forestal, vam idear la distribució del mosaic a Mas Marès. El pla de gestió de les terres tenien i tenen en compte uns objectius compartits:

  • prevenció d’incendis forestals
  • augment progressiu de la biodiversitat
  • protecció de les espècies en perill d’extinció
  • eliminació de plantes invasores

Els elements del mosaic de Mas Marès

El mosaic o sistema agrari d’alt valor natural fa el territori més resilient al canvi climàtic, als incendis, i li aporta més capacitat per nínxols ecològics, per tant més biodiversitat. Les quatre unitats del mosaic de Mas Marès, al Cap de Creus, estan distribuïts estratègicament en quatre unitats que es retroalimenten creant un cercle virtuós, un ecosistema equilibrat:

  • pastures: s’han mantingut les velles, amb les vaques, i se n’han anat creant de noves, desbrossant. Són a la part Nord i per tant la zona més exposada a perills com el foc
  • vinyes i oliveres: amb coberta vegetal verda a la tardor, hivern i primavera. A l’estiu es treballen les zones que limitem amb el matollar, per a fer de tallafocs.
  • suredes: regenerar aquests espais és clau, són ecosistema madur, evolucionat en aquesta zona, perquè sempre n’hi ha hagut. Hem mantingut les que hi havia, hem netejat el sotabosc mantenint els plançons
  • zones sense intervenció: a l’extrem sud, és on hi ha els ecosistemes més establerts. Els deixem que evolucionin de forma natural cap a ecosistemes més madurs a nivell de diversitat. Interessa protegir-los al màxim.

Les zones es distribueixen en funció de la vulnerabilitat de l’ecosistema que volem protegir. En el cas del mosaic de Mas Marès, la zona Nord és clarament la zona més exposada a incendis i per tant a pèrdues. Per tenir un mosaic equilibrat és imprescindible la cura de totes les unitats que requereixen intervenció. Si ho voleu escoltar en paraules de l’Anna Espelt us recomanem aquest episodi de Bar de Vins.

Since we can remember, we have seen cows in Albera and Cap de Creus. Changes in the contemporary world have made transhumance more complicated. The beasts, however, still need to change their minds when winter comes.

For years, we have had an agreement for these cows from Ripollès to graze in our vineyards in Cap de Creus. They win with good pastures: Xavi, the shepherd, tells us that if it rains there will be good grass (hopefully it will be so and it will rain soon!).

The whole environment of Mas Marés also gains with an enriched ecosystem. Thanks to its presence, we help the mosaic, this Mediterranean landscape that is a reflection of the variety of ecosystems and biodiversity. With the cows, one more element is added so that the different ecosystems that coexist in this space create synergies between them. Cows are important because they make for more open space, which is great for other animals to come, such as the little kestrel, which we’ve already told you about. They also reduce flammable biomass and therefore reduce the risk of fire, bringing more organic matter to the soil, thus closing a virtuous circle. If you go up to the Pic de l’Àliga or Pla de Gates you can find the cows grazing quietly again and sunbathing and wind, and hopefully it will rain soon. Tell us if you were able to greet them, did you see them?

Dry stone is part of our landscape, one of the reasons we rebuild dry stone walls. Dry Stone Week takes place from 19th to 28th November. More than 100 activities organized throughout the territory of the Catalan Countries to raise awareness of this cultural heritage.

pedra seca

This week will take place the 2nd edition of Dry Stone Week. More than 100 activities that vindicate, update and put these spaces of popular architecture and biodiversity at the center. The conference, organized by various organizations throughout the territory, is a good starting point if you want to know more about these rural buildings.

Dry stone is an ancient technique of separating fields, but also of gaining cultivation space on uneven ground. In addition, over the years we have seen that the vineyards that had dry stone walls nearby were more resilient and with more biodiversity, as the holes between stones are natural dens for all kinds of insectivorous species and small reptiles, amphibians, birds. In Mas Marés we have rebuilt more than 3,000 m of dry stone walls because they are part of our landscape and our heritage, but above all because they are a refuge for a rich and powerful ecosystem.

Let’s participate in the Seca de la Pedra Seca, there are more than 40 scheduled events, more than 20 trainings and more than 30 disclosure acts about the Catalan Countries. You can also come to meet us and learn first hand why we rebuild the walls of dry stone.

You have the calendar of activities and the location map on the Dry Stone Week website. Don’t miss it!

In the middle of the harvest we observe the vineyards. They have come this far, with all their might, in spite of the drought, in spite of the wind, in spite of the risk of fire this summer. We are very grateful to be able to work and harvest their fruits. We thanks nature to be able to take care of them.

The vegetable covers are yellow, the color of the straw dominates, if it were not the leaves and underneath, the grapes that we now harvest, we would say that the earth cannot bear fruit like this. Plants teach us slow adaptation to changing climatic conditions, resilience is their most authentic way of life. Our obsession is to make their future easy, creating spaces so that the water does not carry away the soils, redoing the dry stone walls, using drip irrigation very occasionally.

We keep on going on harvest ????

Since we know that the climate change is almost irreversible we do not stop asking us what we can do to adapt us in. Of course the world is in a climatic emergency, whose effects stil we are not aware of.

The MIDMACC research project, part of the European program Europa Life, has been working in our vineyards for more than a year to find answers to a question we often ask ourselves: are we doing everything we can to cushion climate change? Mid-mountain vineyards, such as those we have in Mas Marés, can be a good tool to prevent erosion and therefore influence the consequences of climate change. Researchers have placed small machines in the vineyards to find out how the water moves in our vineyards, because this gives us clues about soil erosion. These data will help us determine the differences, at the environmental level, between working in gobelet-trained or in trellis.

Collecting data is a very subtle way to open a window into the future. We hope to be able to tell you all the fruits.