Capçanes is a little village of 400 people hidden in the hills of Catalan countryside inland from Tarragona which exists mostly for its co-operative.
Growing olives, a little cereal but mostly grapes with around 220 hectares of vineyard, Capçanes, alone in the Montsant DO, almost certainly has more old vine Garnacha than the whole of Priorato. Lauded some years ago by the International Herald Tribune as one of the best co-ops in the world, Capçanes was at the forefront of the movement to revitalise the wine production and economy of the Priorato region.
There are around 70 families involved in the co-op and the management take their well being to heart. They have run educational programmes to convince the growers to cultivate organically, more to persuade the growers to minimise the risks they run while handling potentailly dangerous chemicals as much as to preserve the environment. Nowadays over 50% of the vineyards are organic while around 90 HAs have been certified.
Working with Garnacha predominantly but with vineyards of Samso (Cariñena) Tempranillo, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Macabeo and Garnacha Blanca scattered over sites on the hills that rise up around the village giving altitudes ranging from around 250 to 550 metres. They are pressing their growers to cultivate organically.