Ribeira Sacra Designation of Origin and Heroic Viticulture
The Ribeira Sacra is one of the most symbolic examples of what is known as heroic viticulture. This term refers to the conditions of the terrain, which make growing and tending vines especially difficult and which force wine-growers and producers to overcome vertigo on the hillsides.
Distribution of vineyards down terraces or hillsides to preserve the slope of the terrain - which can reach gradients of 100%- creates a space where mechanisation is impossible.
With the exception of the odd track in some vineyards to transport crates, winegrowers’ and wine producers’ hands, arms and backs do all the work here, and moving through vines requires true acrobatic skill. Heroic viticulture is most symbolically represented in the grape-harvesting period.
Since 2011, the CERVIM (Centre for Research, Environmental Sustainability and Advancement of Mountain Viticulture) has offered a specific seal to define this type of viticulture, which only a few Spanish Designations of Origin can use. One of these is Ribeira Sacra.
Moreover, the Ribeira Sacra Designation of Origin was created in 1997, to protect the origin of these wines, guarantee their quality and promote them. This Designation is divided into 5 sub-areas: Amandi, Chantada, Quiroga-Bibei, Ribeiras del Miño (Banks of the Miño) and Ribeiras del Sil (Banks of the Sil).
The creation of the Ribeira Sacra Designation of Origin saw the professionalisation of the wine sector here and the restoration of vineyards on terraces and the local landscape. Wine-making is now a thriving, dynamic sector and one of the Ribeira Sacra’s main driving forces, both on an economic and tourism level.
You can find further information on the Ribeira Sacra D.O. here