Oriol Artigas

Oriol Artigas came to winegrowing serendipitously. He originally wanted to be a chemist (à la Jules Chauvet), but after working a harvest in Penedès, Oriol realized that a career in a laboratory wasn’t for him and enrolled in an enology program. After working at several wineries across Catalonia, Oriol decided to explore his true passion – a project revitalizing old coastal vineyards in his home region of Allela to make supremely transparent, non-interventionist wines that evoke the nearby Mediterranean – wines laced with garrigue and sea salt. Located just 15km north of Barcelona, Alella is a lesser-known region but has one of those familiar stories: A vineyard area that dates back to Roman times, once renowned for producing exceptional wines, and now, thanks to the appetite for seaside real estate, has been whittled down to very little vineyard land. But the proximity to the Mediterranean, granite soils called 'Sauló', and a plethora of old, native vines has inspired a cadre of growers to set up shop here and work to protect this area from extinction. Oriol started his current project in 2011. He works 7.5ha in total, with the majority of the vineyards being planted en vaso, very old, and located around his hometown of Vilassar de Dalt. He allows vegetation to grow between the vines, prunes very little, and works the vineyards primarily along the lunar calendar. In the winery, fermentations are completely spontaneous, he does not work the must, aging is in steel vat, neutral French oak, or amphora, and sulfur is only added at bottling if the wine demands it. He makes a wide variety of wines and depending on what is in each parcel, the wines can be white, orange, pale pink, dark pink, or red in color. All of the wines are co-fermented by vineyard site, and in some cases, there are as many as 50 different red and white grape varieties that make up the cuvée. The results are some of the most exciting wines being produced in Catalonia today.