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Familia Torres launches ancestral winegrowing project

Published:  17 March, 2020

Family-owned winery Familia Torres has kicked off the latest stage of on an ongoing growing project in Alts d'Ancosa in the Penedès, where it will be planting historic local variety, Forcada.

Forcada is an ancestral white variety recognised in the Penedès DO.

Familia Torres recovered Forcada as part of its project to revive pre-phylloxera varieties as part of an initiative that began more than 30 years ago.

Now, they are aiming to revive the variety at their long-standing Les Escostes estate in Llacun, also with the hope of combating climate change.

“By planting new vines in Les Escostes, we want to restore an exceptional, historical vineyard and contribute to the preservation of the landscape and the rural heritage of Catalonia as represented by the traditional dry-stone terraces where our ancestors grew their crops,” Miguel Torres Maczassek, fifth generation family member and the winery’s general manager, said.

“At the same time, we want to explore the limits of Forcada, a late-ripening ancestral variety, by planting the vines at a higher elevation to compensate the effects of rising temperatures.”

The new vineyard will be dedicated exclusively to Forcada, an ancestral white variety, on south-facing terraces.

The terraces climb up to an elevation of 700 meters and are overlooked over by barraca – small dry-stone structures often found in old vineyards.

The outbreak of phylloxera in the late 19th century, and the subsequent mechanisation of farming, led to the gradual abandonment of these terraced, hillside vineyards.

Forcada is a long-cycle variety that ripens slowly and maintains a pronounced level of acidity.

Familia Torres has recovered over 50 varieties since the initiative to revive old vines began over three decades ago.

So far however, Forcada is the only white variety with the “right characteristics” to produce quality wines and handle the challenges of climate change.

Production will be small and aimed exclusively at restaurants.