Viticulture in Font Rubí
There are different signs that indicate that the Iberians who settled in El Penedès were already growing wine. Some time ago in Masmuió, in the municipality of Guardiola de Font-Rubí, a circular stone was found with a sculpted irrigation channel for withdrawing wine must extracted from a grape press. This “press base” dates from the 5th century BC.
Also known is an important winery from the 12th century in the area of Font Rubi, which was highly valued for the quality of its wine.
Wine-growing in the Font Rubi area was carried out in small plots of land from between 0.25 and 0.5 hectares. At that time, the most cultivated variety was Vernaccia; later on, Moscatel or Malvasia were cultivated and, much later, the other varieties were added to the list.
Brief history of wine in el Penedès
It was during the time of the Iberians when wine-growing was introduced in El Penedès. It was a very local endeavour and probably just for self-consumption.
Eventually, wine-growing became more commonplace, as reflected by many signs of this in the many settlements or lands of the different Iberian tribes that inhabited this area. It was not until the Roman era that wine-growing became generalized and spread throughout the whole of El Penedès and the inner coast and that a significant amount of wine from the area began to be exported throughout the Roman territory. Production turned from self-consumption to export. In the following centuries, especially in the Dark Ages, as the barbarians were not used to drinking wine and the Muslims, although they permitted it, neither consumed it, nor allowed it to be traded, wine growing reverted to something done only on a very local scale.
In the following centuries, especially in the Dark Ages, as the barbarians were not used to drinking wine and the Muslims, although they permitted it, neither consumed it, nor allowed it to be traded, wine growing reverted to something done only on a very local scale.
In the Late Middle Ages, at the start of the 12th century, there was a short golden age in wine, which once again was traded throughout the whole Mediterranean. At that time, cultivation was restricted to the coastal strip, but the swift acceptance of wine made many farmers plant vines again to be able to export. This situation will last quite a while.
A great shift occurred at the start of the 17th century when el Penedès began producing high-alcohol wines to produce distilled spirits for the Dutch and later on the English (Cariñena, Picapoll, Monastrell…) but a series of circumstances changed the market and farmers-creators began to produce old wines for local consumption with already existing varieties which they first used to make eau-de-vie and later on more up-to-date varieties and ones inherent to the area such as Macabeo, Xarel.lo, Garnacha… These aged wines would become so popular in Europe that, around the 18th century, King Charles III allowed by decree for them to be traded with America; at this time throughout the whole of el Penedès, vineyards for making great quality wines definitively became established.