Mas Blanch i Jové, love for the land and art
Love and respect for the land, together with art, make the Blanch i Jové winery, in the Costers del Segre DO, a unique place for tasting good wines and strolling through nature and art.
In the Garrigues region, at an altitude of over 700 metres, we find the Mas Blanch i Jové winery. It is a young winery, born 15 years ago, the result of the initiative of Sara Jové’s parents, the current manager, who fell in love with the region and bought a piece of land where vines, almond, and olive trees were grown. Sara Jové explains that their love of the land goes back a long way: “Her godparents and great-great-grandparents were already working the land, and these origins made their parents decide to start this project in Les Garrigues, despite the fact that their origins are from La Segarra and Urgell”.
Sustainability as a distinctive feature
Mas Blanch i Jové wines come from the Costers del Segre D.O. (Denominació d’Origen), a sub-zone of the Garrigues region. The estate is 700 metres above sea level, has stony soil, is poor in organic matter, and produces low yields. Sara defines the project as organic and sustainable: “Everything we do is organic. In all the products we produce: wine, oil, and almonds, no pesticides or herbicides are used” and she proudly adds: “The bodega runs 100% on energy that comes from solar panels, 110 panels with 48 batteries, and we have a water purification system”. She also highlights the work they do to recover the stone walls, which they consider not only the cultural heritage of the area, but they also value for the work they do to prevent erosion of the land and the creation of natural ditches.
“We work to be part of the solution to the environmental problem. We are concerned about climate change, but we are working to prevent it. Drought has become chronic and, without water, there is no life. We have irrigation to support the vines, with the drop-by-drop system. It is the only way to keep the vines alive. And we have to work in a way that does not deplete the land’s resources. It has to be a sustainable way of working, so that the land regenerates itself, without stressing it”. He says that their philosophy is summed up in respect for nature and the environment, a fact that makes them aware of where they are: in a dry, very Mediterranean area, with fauna and flora that are very characteristic of the area, which they try to look after and protect, even providing watering places for the animals.
A family business
Sara Jové defines Mas Blanch i Jové wines as wines with character and personality, faithful to the landscape that has seen them grow: “They are powerful, fresh, with concentration and structure, which is what our stony land gives us. We work with native varieties such as Macabeo, Garnatxa Blanca, Garnatxa Negra, Garnatxa Peluda, and we are involved in an experimental project to recover old varieties. We are always looking to make the best wine, and we experiment, as if it was a game of fun, to achieve it”.
Sara’s father is a blacksmith, her brother an industrial engineer, and her cousin an agronomist. They all took part in the construction of the winery, which is built into a hill, “what we did was to take out the mountain, build the winery, and put the mountain back in. The winery is the result of a project that is totally integrated into the landscape and designed to work with the utmost respect for the environment,” she explains. The winery was born with the collaboration of Josep Guinovart, a painter and friend of the family. He made them appreciate the importance of integrating art and wine and is the one who designed the different spaces of the winery and launched the idea of the artists’ vineyard, which is an open-air exhibition hall where, among vines and olive trees, sculptures and art installations coexist.
In fact, along a two-kilometre route through the vineyards, visitors can find sculptures and art installations that have been distributed over the last ten years. The winery has created an application through which the visitor can find out where each piece is, what its name is, who made it and when it was installed. This idea of linking wine and art arose spontaneously, in a meeting, and Guinovart suggested making this installation in a field that at the time did not even belong to the family. When our friend suddenly died,” explains Sara Jové, “we decided to buy that field of almond trees, we planted vines and the following year the first art installation was made. It was a tribute to him and a way of mourning. Over time, this has become an identifying element of the winery”.
Art-related activities do not stop. And, despite the pandemic, the Bodega has not stopped programming. Although the idea is not to do an art feature every year, it is true that since the Art Vineyard was inaugurated, they have not stopped doing features. Art is an identifying element of the winery and complements it. Enotourism activities serve to publicise their products, which they make with care and promote with passion. Their clients are basically national, in the restaurant industry, and they export 30% of their products.
The synergy between art, oenology, and nature has made Mas Blanch i Jové a unique winery in the Costers del Segre region.
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