Vine cultivation in the area dates back to the 2nd century BC, as confirmed by the discovery of a wine storage vat in the Celtiberian settlement of Segeda, a town of great importance during the Numantine wars, and situated between the districts of Belmonte de Gracián and Mara.
The first historical reference to the great quality of the wine can be traced back to the 1st century and Marcus Valerius Martialis, the historian born in the Roman city of Bilbilis.
Augusta Bilbilis was a flourishing city in its time where, in its surroundings the Moors later founded the city of Calatayud. It was the Romans who developed the cultivation of the vine, the Moors who abandoned the practice, and the Christians who brought it back to prominence during the Reconquest as a colonializing crop.
At the end of the 12th century Cistercian monks promoted the planting of vineyards in the area and founded the monastery named Monasterio de Piedra, whose cellars give testament to the importance of the vine in the surrounding countryside.
With the arrival of phylloxera in France, the vineyards reached an area of over 44,000 ha. Without doubt Calatayud ‘s excellent rail links favoured the exportation of the wine and in turn the cultivation of the vine.
In the 60’s the winegrowers came together and created cooperatives. Later, on seeing the quality of the wine produced, wine merchants applied for the creation of an Appellation of Origin, declared in 1990.
The wine cellars which are more than 250 years old, where dug out by hand and orientated to the north in order to conserve their temperature and humidity.
Each winegrower produced their wine in a traditional way, the grapes were trampled, and with the stalk or pedicel still attached were fermented. Naked they climbed into the vat to remove the unfermented wine and grape skins. Once finished, the wine was separated off and was placed in cement deposits or in cherry wood barrels of between 600 and 1,500 litres. The rest of the grape skins were pressed manually to extract more wine. Later wine merchants would come and prices were fixed by the measurement know as “cantarás”
And this is how things worked until the creation of cooperative over 50 years ago. Today these practices are testament to the history and culture of wine in our area.