Wine
Formentera Regional Wine

The grape-growing area where wines with the "Vino de la tierra de Formentera" geographical indication are made is the island of Formentera. One of Formentera's most traditional agricultural activities is viniculture. References can be found dating back to a Feudal Charter of 1246 that demonstrate the existence of this activity in Formentera. In the charter, Montgrí commissions Berenguer Renard with the repopulation of the island, and it mentions the existence of vineyards in La Mola which had been given to some hermits, possibly from the Order of Saint Augustine. Vine-growing almost certainly continued up until the 14th century, when Formentera's population disappeared completely as a result of the Black Death, with the crop's consequent abandonment. In the 18th century, Formentera began to receive an influx of immigrants from Ibiza and the island was repopulated for the second and final time. From that moment onwards, vine-growing and winemaking in Formentera began to play an increasingly important role. According to the book "Los caminos y los viajes del Archiduque, ayer y hoy" ("The Archduke's travels and journeys, yesterday and today", Marí, 2000), in the 18th century there were 79,000 vines planted on the island and it had a wine yield of 11,400 litres. Its wine output rose considerably following the construction in 1879 of the Ca'n Marroig winery, which had a production capacity of 50,000 litres.

 

It should also be noted that the owner of the winery started up an important wine trade, shipping the wine by sea from Formentera. Bibliographic references to vine-growing and winemaking in Formentera throughout the 20th century are few and far between. No doubt the most significant event was the opening of a winery in La Mola in 1972 by Juan Riera Mayans. The winery began to operate with a production capacity of 9,500 litres. As well as actually making the wine, Juan Riera Mayans also bottled and sold it locally in Formentera, going on to sell it to the neighbouring island of Ibiza. Even back then, his wines were being sold with the "Formentera" geographical indication, as labels from the Government of the Balearic Island archives demonstrate. Today viniculture is one of Formentera's leading agricultural activities. There are over 60 hectares of vines, accounting for 12.5% of all the land used for agriculture. The main type of grape that is used is the traditional "Monastrell" variety, accounting for almost 44% of all the vines. Viniculture is the agricultural activity with the best future prospects, as demonstrated by the fact that in the year 2002 plans were set in motion for the creation of three new wineries. Island society's links with viniculture are clear, as proven by the annual wine contest where wines made by Formentera's "pagesos" (or farmers) all compete. This event is regarded as one of the most important of Sant Francesc and Sant Ferran's local festivities.

 

The Geographical and Climatic Setting

 

Formentera has a very varied physical geography. La Mola and Cap de Barbaria are the island's highest points, with big cliffs that drop down to the sea. La Mola's limestone terrain has given rise to caves along its coastline, whilst Cap de Barbaria is very arid looking. Linking Cap de Barbaria with La Mola is an area called El Pla, made up of dune formations (many fossilized) with small valleys between them. The north of the island is characterized by the presence of wetlands and coastal lagoons (Estany Pudent, Estany des Peix and Ses Salines). Formentera is solely composed of post-orogenic materials (from the Late Miocene and Quaternary periods).

 

The headlands of La Mola and Cap de Barbaria are limestone formations (originally reefs), linked by a series of quaternary dunes. La Mola and Cap de Barbaria's tabular shapes dominate the rest of the island, contrasting with Formentera Regional Wine - Balearic Islands - Agrifoodstuffs, designations of origin and Balearic gastronomy El Pla and its combination of dunes, alluvial-type plains and marshy areas where the northern lagoons and salt flats are. Worthy of mention are the aeolianite formations and dunes that predominate in Els Trucadors and the islet of S'Espalmador. In Formentera, vines are grown on sandy and/or clay soils. As a vine-growing area, Formentera has a dry subtropical Mediterranean climate, characterized by a high number of sunshine hours, summers with high temperatures and considerable humidity, and winters with moderate temperatures. There is little rain, with two peak periods in October. Formentera is the warmest and driest of the Balearic Islands, with a yearly average temperature of over 18ºC and a total annual rainfall of about 450 mm, which can drop to just 300 mm in the northern part of Formentera. Vines are grown all over Formentera because it is a crop that is very well adapted to the area's climatic and edaphic conditions.

 

Production

Traditional vine-growing methods are used to produce "Vino de la tierra de Formentera", as they tend to achieve better quality grapes which also meet the following requirements:

1. A plantation density no higher than 5,000 vines per hectare.

2. A maximum of 60,000 buds per hectare.

3. A maximum yield of 8,500 kg per hectare.

 

The following varieties of grapes are used to make "Vino de la tierra de Formentera":

- Red grapes: Monastrell, Fogoneu, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

- White grapes: Malvasia, Prensal Blanco, Chardonnay, Viognier, Garnacha Blanca and Moscatel de Grano Menudo.

 

The Production Conditions: The techniques used to process the grapes, the must and the wine all combine to achieve optimum results. To extract the must, for instance, the grapes are pressed in such a way that no more than 65 litres of wine are produced per 100 kg of grapes. Additionally, to guarantee the origin of wines with the "Vino de la tierra de Formentera" label, wine producers and bottlers of "Vino de la tierra de Formentera" can only produce and bottle wines made with grapes from the island of Formentera. The Wines'

 

Characteristics

 

Formentera's vine growers and winemakers have specialized in the production of red and rosé wines whose characteristics are well known and highly praised by both local inhabitants and visitors to the island. Generally these are wines with a high alcohol content. The reds, which are mainly young wines, are characterized by their strong blackcurrant colour with hints of purple. They are bright and clean, producing slow thick legs when swirled around the glass. Their bouquet has a predominance of primary aromas, particularly ripe fruit: strawberries or blackcurrants and stewed fruit like plums or figs. In the mouth they are robust wines with a good body and a tannic, well-structured, balanced taste. They have a long, fruity aftertaste.

 

Wine Minimum alcohol content

White 11.5 Rosé 12.0 Red 12.5

They must have a minimum total acidity of 4.5 g per litre of tartaric acid and a volatile acidity no higher than 0.8 g per litre, expressed as acetic acid.

 

Quality Controls

 

By virtue of an Order of March 11th 2013 issued by the Councillor of the Balearic Government's Department of Agriculture, the body responsible for controls relating to "Vino de la tierra de Formentera" is the Directorate General of Agriculture. "Vino de la tierra de Formentera" is only bottled in Formentera, with an official control number assigned by the Directorate General of Agriculture: the body in charge of the certification of "Vino de la tierra Formentera" and all corresponding controls.

Formentera Regional Wine - Balearic Islands - Agrifoodstuffs, designations of origin and Balearic gastronomy
Production data

Year 2018

Surface area covered by vines: 13,23 ha

Wineries: 2

Wine production: 253,50 hl

General Directorate of Rural and Marine Affairs
C. Reina Constança, 4 - 07006 - Palma
Tel. 971 17 66 66
Fax: 971 17 68 70

iqua@caib.es
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