The 2019 Pollensa Wine Fair
Annual wine tasting event in the north of Mallorca
La Fira de Vi de Pollença
The weekend of the 11th and 12th of May 2019, l’Associació de Vi Primitiu de Pollença (The Pollensa Artisan Wine Association) celebrates its 16th edition of the wonderful FIRA del VI Wine Fair, with 39 wineries from all over the island, and some from other Balearic Islands too.
The event takes place all day Saturday from 10:00 - 20:30 and on Sunday from 10:00 -14:00 at the Cloisters of Santo Domingo in Pollensa old town and draws vintners, gourmands and wine lovers from all over the world.
Admission to the cloisters is 10 euros per person with a 3 euro voucher to redeem against the purchase of a bottle of wine.
Wine tasting measures are small and often accompanied by Quelitas, a local and very popular savoury Inca biscuit or a small square of Mahon cheese, from Menorca. This is an elegant affair, but like all local fairs and festivities, it's lively and bustling.
The whole town becomes involved in one way or another and Pollensa's restaurants and cafes offer special local Wine Fair menus for the occasion, with traditional dishes paired with local wines and more wine tasting opportunities.
About Mallorca Wine
The island was making wine for the Romans back in the days of Pliny the Elder in 121 BC and continued doing so throughout the Arab rule of the island, though forbidden by Muslim law. During the conquest of Jaume I in the 13th century, the king was presented with local Mallorca wine and it went down so well it became popular in the courts of Aragon and Castille.
It was much later however, during the fated wine plague of the 18th century, when the island got its first real break into wine making in the modern era. After the dreaded phylloxera plague decimated crops throughout the major wine making regions of Europe, Mallorca found itself supplying wine to the entire continent, for a spell, because it did eventually reach the islands too, but it set it on course towards becoming the wine producer it is today.
In the 1960s, after all the world and civil wars, a bunch of insightful and passionate vintners began to grow popular varietals (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay) while nurturing the indigenous island varietals. Their efforts certainly worked. Today the island produces high quality yet low volume sparkling, white, rosé, and red wines.
Mallorca Wine Regions
There are two DO regions on the island; the first Binissalem (D.O.) in the middle of the island, in the Tramuntana foothills, has 13 wineries amongst which the most well known are Bodegues Macià Batle and Bodegues José Luis Ferrer, and the Pla i Llevant (D.O.) region, which covers a large part of the island also has another 13 wineries, with Bodegues Jaume Mesquida and Vinyes i Bodegues Miquel Oliver as the most popular.
Two further designations (not D.O.s) are the Mallorca (Regional Wine) designation that comprises of 25 wineries, in an area, which covers five municipalities. Wine must be produced from grapes grown in this area and bottled in situ. Some of the best bodegas in this area include Bodegas Ribas, Celler Son Prim and Celler Son Vives. The second is the Serra de Tramuntana-Costa Nord (Regional Wine) designation that covers 18 municipalities with 9 wineries to date, of which Bodegues Mortitx and C'an Vidalet are located in the Pollensa area.
The Oldest Wine Making in the World
Up until now, the oldest evidence of wine making came from the Zagros Mountains of northern Iran, about 7000 years ago and the Jiahu site in China, dating back to 7,000BC, which showed remnants of some form of mead/ rice beer or wine production. And if that's not surprising enough, new findings point towards an even earlier wine making tradition, 8000 years ago, in prehistoric settlements near Tbilisi, in Georgia! Researchers have uncovered several indicators pointing towards wine production as well as what appear to be pottery jars that could contain up to 300 litres, making this the site of the earliest vintners.
So while you sip your glass of primitive Mallorcan wine in the cloisters of Pollensa old town, think you are following a human tradition which dates back 8 millennia.