L’Olivera are rather different from our other suppliers. They are still a “family” business, but in a rather unique way. L’Olivera are a social integration cooperative whose members are people with physical, mental or learning difficulties who participate actively in the entire process of growing the grapes and making the wine. The senior team are convinced that work is a vital and emotional experience that everyone should be able to enjoy. At L’Olivera they grow grapes and olives and make wines and oils meant to express the place they come from: an origin, a land and a people who interpret it by making these products.
The adventure began in 1974 in Vallbona de les Monges, in rural Catalonia. The history of Vallbona is defined by the presence of the oldest Cistercian convent in Catalonia. The Cistercian order was founded in Burgundy and is dedicated to combining spiritual activity according to the Rule of St Benedict with agricultural development and regional planning.
Vallbona is a land of ridges and small valleys that reflect the erosive power of water, which left its mark and shaped the landscape. It is a place of deep soil, with hillsides supported by dry-rock retaining walls. These structures, along with numerous cabins, speak of the area’s more populous, productive past. The retaining walls are a key factor in keeping the soil fertile and using water efficiently; and the knowledge and hard work built up over generations permit us to enjoy an impressive landscape that is now seriously endangered.
The area has an inland Mediterranean continental climate, with nights cooled by the sea breeze, and with minimal rainfall (around 350 mm per year). The altitude (450-700 m) allows for a mild, long ripening period, which is a limitation for certain crops. The natural vegetation is Mediterranean and can be found along the old retaining walls, the ridges and in the abandoned fields.
The vineyards are all managed organically, and several plots are used to experiment with training methods, pruning and ripening strategies.
The winery is modern, and specialises in matching the grapes to the right fermenting and maturing method including the use of oak barrels for fermentation and storage of both whites and reds as required.