The Porreres-based winery was established in 1945 by Jaume Mesquida Barceló, great-grandfather of the brother and sister who run the business today. The founder of this well-known bodega (the first to plant Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Chardonnay vines in Mallorca) recognised the health benefits of wine, selling it as a fortifying drink to local farmers. Today, Jaume Mesquida wines are even healthier, as a result of changes made by Bàrbara Mesquida Mora and her brother Jaume. To the uninitiated, some of those changes might not at first sound like progress . . .
They undertook a major review of every aspect of the business. Not surprisingly, the most important area was that of viticulture – producing the vines. And crucial to good vines is healthy soil. They considered the ‘advances’ that have been made in the field of viticulture over the past four decades, involving agrochemistry and increasing use of machinery. For meaningful progress in growing vines and producing wines, they decided to look to the past, and introduce biodynamic practices to their vineyards. This way of farming works in harmony with nature to create healthy, fertile soil and flavourful crops.
Bàrbara and Jaume enjoyed the help of friends Maria Lluïsa Eicke, a biodynamic farmer, and Erik Martin, a winemaker who ploughs with horses. They soaked up knowledge from ancient and modern texts on biodynamics. Convinced this was the way to go, they took the brave decision to use biodynamic practices for all their vines, beginning after the harvest in 2007.
In practice, for example, this means more manual work in the vineyards, and a small tractor is only used when indispensable and never when the soil is wet. They treat the vines with only homeopathic doses of sulphur and copper (ten times less than in normal organic growing).
The wet spring of 2008 resulted in “a terrible harvest,” Bàrbara says. But, rewardingly, the wines were “the best we’d made.” 2009 was their first certified organic harvest, with 25 acres of organic certified vines. Two of their wines, which use only grapes from their own vineyards, have been certified organic: Chardonnay (10 € at the winery), and Rosat de Rosa – equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon (8,85 € at the winery).
Bàrbara believes that the key to these two flavourful wines – “vital, full of energy and life” – was working biodynamically.
They plan to make further changes in the future, to create a fully biodynamic 21st century farm, where fruit trees also grow among the vines (to attract bees). “We want to create a small oasis,” Bàrbara says. It’s a life project for her and Jaume – for whom satisfaction is “counting the worms, which produce organic material!” The Jaume Mesquida winery can be visited by prior arrangement for tours and tastings of wines and other local organic products. Lunches or dinners can be arranged there for small groups and, in the summer, the winery is a venue for concerts.
On Friday, June 4, they’re hosting a celebration of femininity: a fashion show (clothes from Botiga Calle Cruz in Campos), unique Sartcells jewellery made from parts of the vine, created by Jaume’s wife Bibiana Casas, and tastings of Jaume Mesquida’s two certified organic wines. Entry is by invitation, which can be obtained by contacting the bodega.
Barbara says that going biodynamic has been their biggest investment, but this winery isn’t all about making money: “The most important thing is that we can make a living, our employees can make a living, and that we all enjoy what we are doing.” The original Jaume Mesquida would no doubt be proud.