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May 30, 2022 View:

Historic storm destroys Vall Llach winery in Spain

In Spain, rainfall is nothing new, but snowstorms are quite rare in the Spanish Iberian Peninsula.

Photo courtesy of: Wine Click

Last weekend, Storm Philomena brought 20 inches of snow to Madrid, breaking records for large areas of eastern Spain covered in a thick blanket of snow. Spanish authorities are reporting four confirmed deaths from the storm, and the frigid temperatures that continued into this weekend have created a dangerous freezing disaster.

Vall Llach Winemaker says: It started snowing last Thursday and has been getting heavier and heavier throughout the weekend. Over the past two days, snow has reached about 2 feet, much more than usual, but no more snow is predicted, except that below-freezing temperatures continue to close some roads and cause freezing hazards.

Vall Llach was founded in the early 1990s. Founded by the very famous Spanish singers Llus Llach and Enric Costa. The vineyard is very strict in terms of vineyard and winemaking. The winery has century-old vines, as well as 60-90 year-old vines of Carinena and Garnacha.

The yields of the old vines are already very low, and Vall Llach has strictly limited the yields on top of the low yields in order to achieve the maximum and best concentration, which, together with the fact that the vines are planted at high altitude on the slopes, with strong sunlight and drought, increases the concentration of the aromas and flavors of the grapes.

The winery is located in the mountain town of Porrera, with a population of 445, at an elevation of 1036 feet. The area receives a small amount of snowfall every two to three years, but this storm brought the heaviest snowfall since the 1950s.

Vall Llach"s team is still assessing the damage to the wine cellar, which was used for winemaking, bottling and storing wine. The building is located on the main square in the center of the village and is known as La Final, a historic building built in 1882 that was one of the largest private wine cellars in Priorat before the arrival of phylloxera.

At the time of the roof collapse, the cellar held all the wines from the 2018, 2019 and 2020 vintages. The building is not yet safely accessible, so it is not yet possible to assess the extent of the damage. What is certain is that apart from the winemaking and bottling machinery, the vast majority of the stainless steel tanks storing the 2020 vintage have been damaged.

Due to heavy snow accumulation and road closures, it is uncertain if any other buildings were damaged at this time. The good news is that no injuries were reported at the winery.