Wine was introduced on to Mallorca by the Romans in around 100BC and was produced, mainly for local consumption, until the late 19th century when an epidemic of the insect spread disease, phylloxera, destroyed many of the vineyards across Europe including the majority on Mallorca.
It was to take many decades for Mallorca’s wine industry to fully recover and to gain the ever increasing recognition that it enjoys today. Much of the Island is suitable for wine growing but it has two main Denominación de Origen designated wine regions, these being Binissalem set in the middle of the Island on the edge of the Serra de Tramuntana and Pla i Llevant, the traditional wine producing region on Mallorca, which covers the central and eastern areas. The second is is in the foothills of the Serra de Tramuntana and these have a very distinguished flavour due to the acidity of the soil and can be very special. Denominación de Origen is the Spanish classification system for wines similar to that of the Appellation Contrôlée in France. Both of Mallorca’s D.O. regions contain more than a dozen wineries and there is a further group of over 20 wine makers under a regionally designated classification that permits the production of Mallorcan wines only from the region in which the grapes are grown. This regional classification covers the geographical area of 5 separate municipalities.
The native grapes are Callet which is a black variety low in alcohol and tannins and was used for young red and rose wines but more recently blended to produce Cabernet. The Manto Negro which is the most commonly used grape mostly in the Binissalem region. Molln (Prensa Blanc) is a white grape used to blend with Chardonnay but also used to make sparkling wine.
During the 20th century wines produced on the Island were not very special and the Island imported a lot from Spain. This was all to change during the 1990’s as the winemakers invested in equipment to help irrigation, oak barrels and better planting of the more popular grapes. The traditional grape of the Island is the Monastrell which is used to blend with other grapes to produce some superb reds. The whites and roses are also much better now and compare favourably with those from mainland Spain.
Wines from the North of Mallorca grown in the mountains such as Mortitx near Pollença are grown in microclimates and the whites are fresh and dry using the Malvasia and Chardonnay grapes to produce award winning white wines. The reds are using the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with just a few Syrah, Callet and Manto Negro being used.
Wine Tourism is now a huge business for the Island as the wines improved so did the interest from the tourist to see how they were so different. The Serra de Tramuntana is now almost as well known for its wines as Binnisalem and with its many different vineyards some very small these wines are often found in the local restaurants. Most of the producers have wine tasting trips which are often a great half day out. Some in the south offer days out by train, helicopter or just the traditional taste a few wines and enjoy a Mallorcan lunch. Throughout the Island the different regions have different wine festivals and in Binissalem there is a full program during the tourist season.
The best wine festival in the north of the Island is held in the old town of Pollença which was started in 2004 in the Cloisters of the convent de Santo Domingo. The Fira was so successful it took place year after year and attracts over 40 wine growers and 4000 visitors. It provides the opportunity for professionals such as hotel and restaurant owners to make contact, national and international suppliers and the related press.
The major opportunity however is to promote and get both the local population including Alcúdia and Puerto Pollensa along with the tourists to appreciate the quality of the local wine and have a great day.
This years details are:
Saturday May 6th – Open 10am until 8.30pm
Sunday May 7th – Open 10am until 2pm
Admission fee: 10 euros which includes £ euro shopping voucher and then sample all the wines on offer.