Ronda Wine Tasting
Greece brought the vine to Spain but it took the Romans to really get it organised. Wine was considered essential for life – which of course it is – so everybody (except women of course) whether colonist or native-born, freeman or slave, had free access. Every Roman centurion coming to the Iberian peninsula probably had a vine cutting tucked in his tunic with instructions to plant it wherever he found himself as the Romans’ innovative new ways with wine spread rapidly across Iberia.
One Roman centre of viticulture was Acinipo, just north of modern Ronda. Coins dating to 1st century AD have been found as illustrated below – one side shows a bunch of grapes (looks more like an aubergine to me!) and a star, the other has two ears of grain on either side of the name Acinipo.
The late nineteenth century brought phylloxera and the demise of the vine throughout most of Europe. Cuttings had to be brought in from the Americas to reestablish the crop.
But the vine now flourishes in Spain and, in the last ten years, here in the Ronda area. The majority of the vineyards are in the countryside around the old Roman town of Acinipo, exactly where they were 2000 years ago.
When I opened Los Castaños in 2004, one of my goals was to serve local wine but there was none available. I found a mobile number for an embrionic association of vitculturists but, when they eventually got around to returning my call, they said I had to wait a few years. Things are much better organised now and there are more than seventeen vineyards producing excellent wines, red, white and rosado, with their own official classification – Denominación de Origen Vinos de Málaga – Sierras de Málaga – Serranía de Ronda. This label ensures that all the grapes must have been grown in the Ronda area.
Wine-Tasting in Ronda area
This is no Napa Valley scene. No queuing, no hordes, no rush. This is Andalucia and life moves at a civilised pace! Until recently there were just two vineyards offering tasting tours but most of the others have realised the value of enotourism and have opened to the public. But appointments usually have to be made and we can help with that. Tasting is relaxed and always includes a tapita.
One of the first to open its gates to the public was Chinchilla. John and I attended a half-day mini-course which was such fun (especially when John fell backwards off his chair – before the tasting!) and so informative. It includes a classroom component, then a tour of the bodega, ending with a wine and tapas free-for-all. They offer simple vineyard tours as well.
The Museo de Vino in central Ronda is accessible and tells an interesting story. They have wines on tap, a costume exhibition and much more.
On this page put up by the Ronda Tourist Office are links to all the Ronda vineyards and the tours they offer.