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  • 912

    The River Duero basin was resettled. Some settlers built a church in honour of St. Cecilia opposite the town of Valbuena de Duero within the Alfoz de Peñafiel rural territory.

  • 1477

    Peñafiel and the Valbuena Monastery fought over the estate, along with its village, for over three years. It was in 1477 when the monks and the council would reach an agreement. The latter would have the jurisdiction and the arable land (sowing cereals) and the monks would have the forest cover (timber, hunting and grazing)

  • 1577

    The name Vega de Sicilia appeared for the first time in 1577 to refer to the estate.

  • 1864

    After Toribio Lecanda bought the estate from the Marquis of Valbuena in 1848, his son, Eloy Lecanda, started to professionally make wine at the winery.

  • 1882

    The production facilities were completed and today they are offices and ageing warehouses. Eloy Lecanda received numerous awards for the wines produced at Vega Sicilia.

  • 1888

    The estate did not thrive due to Eloy's lack of ability as a trader and manager and it was sold to Pascual Herrero Bux, who would own it for less than 10 years.

  • 1897

    The property was bought at auction by Antonio Herrero Vázquez, who was not a relative of the previous owner. Just a few years later, three of his eight children (Luis, Félix and Ignacio) would inherit it and it would later be passed to Félix's children. The estate, winery and wines prospered greatly during these three generations.

  • 1907

    Cosme Palacio, from La Rioja and who was the tenant of the estate and winery with the Herreros, brought Txomin Garramiola to be in charge of the wine production. Those wines would offset the damage caused by the phylloxera in La Rioja.

  • 1950

    Prodes, the seed company, bought the estate from the Herrero family. The company Bodegas Vega Sicilia S.A. was set up at this time and another of the most important figures in the history of the winery, Jesús Anadón, would emerge.

  • 1965

    The estate was sold to Hans Neuman, a Venezuelan from a Czech-Jewish family and living in Venezuela, who decided to buy the winery after he had tasted the wines in New York.

  • 1982

    The Álvarez family bought the winery from the Neumanns and this marked the start of one of the most prosperous periods in the history of the company.

  • 2014

    Coinciding with the 150th anniversary, the most important modernisation of the vineyard and winery were completed.

The universal spirit

Alión's philosophy - unique land that produced special wines as the essence of its ultimate expression - has stretched far and wide as it has make steady yet unhurried progress.   

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THE UNIVERSAL SPIRIT

 

Alión, whose name refers to the area of León where the patriarch of the Álvarez family was born, is located just 15 kilometres from the headquarters and in a very similar location, between the River Duero and the Valladolid to Soria highway, near to Ribera's winemaking capital, Peñafiel.

 

Even though the early vintages of this wine were made at the Vega Sicilia facilities, a new philosophy was applied to a wine that could not just be the "junior partner" of the great legendry wine, but it had to be able to stand in its own right and showcase the virtues of the terroirs, climate and varieties typical of the Ribera del Duero.

 

This new winery would embark on its winemaking career with the 1993 harvest with a production cap of 350,000 bottles. This figure ranged according to the possibilities offered by the characteristics of each vintage. 1996, when 310,000 bottles were produced, which would be the nearest figure, thanks to the outstanding grape harvest that year and to new areas of the vineyards coming into production. Grapes from those plantations, as an indisputable quality standard of the house, could not be used for any of the estate's wine until those areas had been in production for ten years.

 

In principle, the venture was already underway and with excellent results. Yet, there was no longer the belief that everything had been done which led to "becoming a victim of one's own success" in this sector and at that time, when Spanish wine began to stand out for its quality in an increasingly more global world. They were aware of this at Alión and the wineries were redeveloped in the year 2000. Following on from the excellent results obtained at Vega Sicilia with fermentation in oak tanks, the decision was made to take this practice to Alión as well, and the results began to be seen with the 2001 harvest.

 

After this innovation to the fermentation tanks, the refurbishment work continued in the winery with extensions being built. That work would end in 2009, the date on which Alión can be said to have concluded its adaptation to current quality requirements.

 

Opposite the main façade of the winery, as if protecting the building from the intrusions from the road, there is a garden with a collection of oaks from different origins. This is clear proof of the great dedication here to arboriculture in general.

 

The main feature of façade of the building, in yellowing limestone, is a huge glass doorway with steps running up to it. As you enter the hall, you will be struck by the magnificent lamp made up of thousands of glass spheres which are lit up by a set of multicolour lights when turned on.

 

After you cross the hall, you come directly to the barrel warehouse, where 1,000 new French wood casks lie and which are used to age this wine. The barrels are made by different manufacturers. These valuable recipients are supplied by different manufacturers.

 

The rectangular winemaking facility houses around twenty wood fermentation tanks that are replaced every 5 years. These wooden giants are also divided in a row on each side of the warehouse. There is a conveyor on top of them and the destemmer, one on each row, runs along it and is positioned over each tank and drops in the pulp to make the wine. The grapes enter the process, in boxes, and are placed on a sorting table which is used for that purpose during the harvest season.