In the vineyards of Vega Sicilia at harvest time

I’m in Ribera del Duero, Spain, visiting possibly the best-known of all Spanish producers, Vega Sicilia. It’s vintage time here, and we went out into one of their vineyards to see the grapes being picked.

These are Tempranillo grapes from vines around 30 years old, over the road from the winery in one of the top plots.

Vega Sicilia is a 1000 hectare property with around 210 hectares of vines. 150 hectares is destined for their wines, while the remainder goes to their neighbouring property Alion.

We also had a look at one of their oldest blocks, planted 120 years ago. This is a mixed block of 27 different varieties. I’ve seen older vintages of Vega Sicilia with varietal information on the label: for example, the 1953 was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot and Tempranillo (known here as Tinto Fino). Modern Vega Sicilia is mainly Tinto Fino, but includes some Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend.