Oller del Mas: wine, wine tourism, and well-being
The Oller del Mas winery, DO Pla de Bages, is located three kilometres from Manresa, between Montserrat and Cardené, and shares the passion of making wine with wellness and wine tourism. The family lineage has a long history of relationship with the land and, intermittently, with winemaking. The family of Frank Margenat, the current manager and owner, is known to have been in the family since 964. He is the 36th generation.
For Frank Margenat, wine tourism is the core of the business and is linked to personal wellbeing.
“The long family history, the work that is done every day on the land, in the winery, we give value to it with wine tourism. Visitors can directly experience the work we do, who we are, and where we come from. For us, it is very important to listen to people, to see their reaction when they taste our wine. It is like closing the circle of everything we do, with a complete experience”.
He considers that there is still a long way to go in the field of wine tourism, despite the fact that “things are being done very well”. He says that there is a general problem in the country, “we don’t give value to everything we have to offer. That is why we have wines with very low prices compared to those offered in other parts of the world”. For him, the best way to give value is to open the doors of the winery and show what they do, from the work in the vineyard to the work in the cellar. “It’s also a way of putting pressure on ourselves because if you show what you do directly to the customer, and you see their reaction, you know what they like and what they don’t like, and they put pressure on you to improve it.”
Achieving personal wellbeing is the guideline for all the services that can be found at Bodega Oller del Mas. Everything revolves around achieving the visitor’s wellbeing, whether it be through the accommodation service (there are 20 cabins), the restaurant, the Club Innat, wellness (health and beauty), etc. We want to be the wellness winery, not just here, but from the rest of the planet,” explains Frank Margenat, “we have many departments and many services, from horse riding, bike rental, health check-up, etc., with the aim to achieve total wellness. We offer services ranging from nutrition to non-invasive cosmetic surgery. Always guided by the philosophy of respect for the environment, all treatments and products are based on natural products and some of them based on grape products”.
Oller del Mas’ target is the Catalan market, although in 2019 they received more than 65,000 visits from international tourists, mainly Asian and North American. Their product is aimed at the local customer. “A good wine can be found anywhere in the world. But the one we have can only be experienced here, in the heart of Catalonia. The characteristics of our wines are a reflection of the land where we grow them”. At Oller del Mas they are aware of where they are, and they plant the grape varieties that are best suited to the terroir they work in. With the work of the last few years they have been able to prove that the ancestral varieties are the ones that adapt best and give excellent results. They have recovered varieties such as picapoll and malvasia manresana and have launched a 100% single-varietal wine on the market: “We have put a lot of effort into recovering these varieties that give us more identity, more expressiveness, more authenticity because they reflect the climate and the surrounding landscape”. His philosophy of respect for the environment means that all the work in the vineyards is carried out with ecological treatments and, in recent years, also with techniques based on biodynamics.
We are responsible for what we do
Frank Margenat looks to the future with optimism and at the same time with caution. He believes that people are responsible for what they do and says that those who work in the countryside, with agriculture and the landscape, have to take special care.
He explains that if Oller del Mas has reached the 36th generation, it is because it has had this global vision: “Bearing in mind that we come from so many generations, when I make decisions, I think about what effect that action will have in 10, 30, 50, 100 years’ time. When you look at things from this global, longer-term perspective, you are less likely to make mistakes, and the repercussions for the family and the environment are fewer”.
As an example of this philosophy, at Oller del Mas we find that the accommodation service is in 20 cabins, which are built with natural materials, fully integrated into the landscape, powered by renewable energies (solar, geothermal, and aero thermal) and perfectly insulated.
Margenat explains that next year they want to achieve a negative carbon footprint in the entire winemaking process.
Oller del Mas works to offer the best product and contribute to the wellbeing of the people who enjoy their wines and services. This work has been awarded several times, and this year it has received the Vinari award for the Best Premium Wine Tourism Activity of the Year for the visit to the winery with wine-tasting and paired menu with the winemaker and the owner of the winery. It has also been recognised as one of the best vineyards in this wine-growing landscape.
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