Struggle And Rise To Excellence: Navarra's Wine History

Posted: Mar 21, 2017

Not long ago a team of researchers identified plants of the primitive and original "vitis silvestris" in Navarra. Few places in the world have plant material whose antiquity can be estimated at five million years.


The first documented evidence of the cultivation of the vine and the elaboration of wine in Navarre come from the time of Roman domination. Remains of ancient Roman wineries, funerary monuments and amphoras confirm the social and economic importance of vine growing at this time. Under Arab domination the importance of the vine was maintained, which gradually widened the limits of cultivation.

Middle Ages

The creation of the first monasteries, in the 9th and 10th century, and the beginning of the Camino de Santiago were two reasons for the growth of the wine industry. The pilgrims brought new wine varieties to Navarra. There was also a renewal of the techniques in the elaboration of wine in the monastic cloisters. This was the most important center of propagation for wine.

In the 14th century Navarra was already an important wine producer and exporter. The beginning of the 15th was probably the moment of greater vineyard expansion Viticulture spread north of the borders of Pamplona. The farmers of the capital main crop was the wine.They had to limit the vine's expansion to be able to cultivate the cereal, necessary for the food of the inhabitants of the Kingdom.

Contemporary age

The nineteenth century brought the greatest boom in winemaking to Navarra as well as its biggest catastrophy. The appearance of the phylloxera in France in 1856 caused the destruction of their vineyards. This created an explosion of the culture and the export of wines to the Gallic country from Navarra. A few years later however, phylloxera arrived and decimated the Navarran vineyards. Of the 50,000 hectares under cultivation in Navarra, 48,500 hectares were destroyed.

After this catastrophe, the initiative for the reconstruction of the all Spanish vineyards emerged. The Spanish Provincial Council, promoted nurseries to produce new plants resistant to phylloxera. These were put in place to supply to the winegrowers of Navarra and to those who, from all over Spain, requested the new varieties of phylloxera resitant vinifera.

Currently Navarra has 11,000 hectares distributed in the five areas for wine production.

Source: NavarraWine.Com

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