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Merger in DO Montsant: El Masroig & la Serra d'Almos join

Published:  05 July, 2018

On June 30th, the co-operative cellars of El Masroig and Serra d'Almos announced a full merger of their two respective entities. Unlike neighbouring DOQ Priorat, the co-operatives in DO Montsant still drive the majority of the wine production, making 60% of the total output so any small change is worthy to note.

Founded in 1917, El Masroig is by far and away the dominant winery in the region, taking in some two million kgs of grapes of the total seven million kgs produced in 2017 in DO Montsant. This 29% of the region's total production will now raise to 36% with the incorporation of the la Serra d'Almos member's vineyards which have been producing 500,000 kgs annually.

This is a beneficial merger for both wineries as they nearly neighbour one another and share similar climates as well as grapes, being dominated by Carignan that comprises 50% of their entire production-- quite typical of the southern portions of DO Montsant. Wine production will largely move to el Masroig as they've invested heavily in their production facility as well as international reach for their wines, finding themselves in 50 countries now including: Germany, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.

While people may know the "Solà Fred" or "Les Sorts" labels due the active sales work of el Masroig, la Serra d'Almos has been largely unknown despite their sizable production for the region and with the merger, they'll be able to have their wines sold under the larger el Masroig brand. Both cellars are known for their very high-quality olive oil as well and according to director, Josep Arnal, that will be largely centralized at the co-op of la Serra d'Almos.

This speaks to a larger trend of changes for co-operatives and this isn't the first merger for the zone of DO Montsant as the co-operatives of Falset and Marçà merged with a similar trajectory back in 1999.

The he current number of co-operatives producing wine now stands at nine; some having very few members as many have turned to either selling grapes to private cellars or making their own wine.

Just a few years ago, the co-operatives of both DO Montsant as well as DOQ Priorat were known for solely selling bulk wine but this has changed significantly, especially in the case of el Masroig. They've become highly regarded for producing some of the best examples of red wine in Catalonia as shown by winning Platinum for their Solà Fred Negre 2017 as well as very high Silver for their Masroig 2017 in the 2018 Decanter Awards.

The hope from both of the cellars is that the addition of more old-vine Carignan from la Serra d'Almos will continue el Masroig's trend of making some of the top wines in the region.