Bodega Union Campesina Iniestense
Bringing winemakers together to continue La Mancha’s cooperative heritage
Photo: Bodega Union Campesina Iniestense
Wednesday 27 April 2022
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Changes to winemaking infrastructure can be revolutionary — as Bodega Union Campesina Iniestense can testify. In the 1940s, their agricultural union was formed by a local farmers’ initiative after a change in the law. Moving forward as part of the Farmers and Ranchers Union Brotherhood, the union soon had over 100 shareholders, and began producing wine as a united collaboration in earnest by the early 1950s.
The bottles of Bodega Union Campesina Iniestense wine you see today are thanks to current cooperative winemaker Angel Carrascal’s move towards bottling, to give them more opportunities to sell their own wine directly from the Bodega. The bottling plant was actually opened by the then President of La-Mancha!
The Bodega Union Campesina Iniestense area of more than 7,000 hectares sits on classically extreme Castilla-La Mancha table land between the breathtaking Júcar canyon and the deep Gabriel valley near Valencia. Up at 750 meters above sea level, the winery’s unique microclimate is perfectly suited to Tempranillo, Bobal (which the cooperative makes characteristically La Manchan rosé from), Syrah, Macabeo and Cabernet Sauvignon. The hot sun in the summer months gives these robust red grapes intensity and depth, and the richly coloured sandy soils force vines to reach deep into the ground for minerals and nutrients.
With around 1,200 members now, Bodega Union Campesina Iniestense is still growing, producing great value wine in an area first cultivated by the Romans. This ancient link to the agricultural heritage and population of this place can be seen everywhere, from the ruins of public baths to visible remains of Roman waterways. You can clearly imagine people offering locally-made wine around the Ninfeo Temple, or enjoying a drink at the amphitheatre. Is it any wonder that winemaking is so important here?
The best way to explore the area from your own front room, however, is to try the wine for yourself. Open a bottle and sniff the rich, spicy aromas of thick-skinned grapes grown in the harshest of climates on a dry, high plain in the wide space of Castilla-La Mancha. Take a sip and explore the depths the vines go into that red soil, and feel the heat of the Spanish sun on your face as you feel silky tannins that grip ever so slightly. And know that, despite thousands of years’ experience and heritage, you can still call this region your own wine-buying secret. For now.
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