Bodegas de Jumilla: Origin and history
Long is the romance of Jumilla and its people with the wines of Jumilla. It is said that the roots of this intense relationship would go back many years before the Romanization of the Iberian Peninsula. The innumerable archaeological remains and utensils found in the area which dated from the Iberians, who knows if by influence of the Phoenician merchants, began to develop an intense activity in the cultivation of vines and olive trees that still lasts today, which are in the very foundation of our Mediterranean culture.
However, to understand the reason for the abundance of wine cellars in Jumilla, we have to take a leap in time, reaching the XIXth century.
In this land of cold, dry winters and extremely hot summers, each home made its own wines from a variety known as “monastrell”, very resistant to the inclement weather and lack of rain. We still have at Bodegas Bleda one of the enormous presses used in these legendary homemade elaborations. Apparently, our ancestors from Jumilla were quite good at making wine. Some of them got to open new sales channels of grape juice and wine with France. The final stroke of luck would come with the phylloxera which would wreak havoc throughout the European continent, including the Iberian Peninsula, but it did not affect the vines in the area of Jumilla, because the plague does not thrive in its sandy soils. This supposed a very intense viniculture activity in the area, establishing the origin of most of the wineries from Jumilla, including Bodegas Bleda.
The wineries from Jumilla, which are mostly family-based, became aware of the big potential of their homeland, starting to integrate in the technological advance of the elaborations.
The Jumilla Oenological Station (Estación Enológica de Jumilla) was founded in 1910 as a result of this interest in promoting the quality of Jumilla wines, with the aim of advising on vineyard cultivation techniques, winemaking and carrying out research to improve vines.
In fact, the origin of Bodegas Bleda goes back to those very first years of the XIXth century, and it is the result of the union of some of those small wineries in Jumilla. Aware of the purity of these fruits, they constructed the current outlook of Jumilla’s wine industry with hard work and dedication. As a curiosity, Bodegas Bleda was the first winery in Jumilla to take a stance on commercializing with wine glass bottles, something that, as incredible as it may seem to us now, has not always been like that. Thanks to this, one of our oldest wines (Vino Oro Viejo) was awarded the gold metal during the Universal Exposition of Barcelona, in 1929. We proudly keep it in our headquarters, where you can also admire some of the ancient instruments used to make wine at the beginning of the last century.
Afterward, Bodegas Bleda would become a strong defender of the Jumilla’s wine quality before the Ministry of Agriculture, influencing decisively other wineries in creating the Jumilla D.O in 1966, which is one of the oldest in Spain.
Jumilla’s wines boast a remarkable recognition today and we are proud that our family has participated in those events to make possible to relate the word “Jumilla” as a synonyme of “wine”.
As said our predecesor Mr Antonio Bleda, who is still an inspiration for us: “Call a spade a spade and a wine Bleda!”.