One Woman Who Is Reviving Malaga’s Wine Heritage

Traditional Winemaking In Malaga

Traditional winemaking in Malaga. Credit: /bodegasvictoriaordonez

In the elevated terrains of the Montes de Malaga, Victoria Ordoñez, a visionary in viticulture, is creating wines that rekindle Malaga’s ancient traditions

In 2015, Ordoñez embarked on an ambitious project, Bodegas Victoria Ordoñez e Hijos, to rejuvenate the Pedro Ximenez grape variety.

Once pivotal to Malaga’s winemaking but long since vanished from the region, this grape is being cultivated over 800 metres above sea level. ‘Of great importance for Malaga wines, not only in volume but also in high quality,’ Victoria proudly announces.

Ancestral Methods In Modern Times

Her journey in reviving Pedro Ximenez began with extensive research. ‘I set that goal through years of study and research. I was also surprised that most of them were dry wines,’ Victoria recounts.

This reintroduction marks the first time in over a century that the essence of early Malaga wines – dry whites made naturally without syrups, added colour, or alcohol – has been captured.

Victoria’s approach is steeped in tradition, mirroring the viticultural methods of the early 18th century. This includes heroic, or high-altitude, viticulture at its most challenging. ‘Everything is ravines and slopes, so we use the hoe,’ she explains, highlighting the labour-intensive nature of the work.

Mules: The Unsung Heroes Of The Vineyard

In the challenging terrain, mules become indispensable. Used in select vineyards where they can navigate, they are vital for transporting harvested grapes.

This method not only honors historical practices but also aligns with the winery’s commitment to sustainability and ecology.

With around 12 small plots, some hosting vines aged between 40 and 150 years, Victoria has partnered with the ‘Malaga’ and ‘Sierras de Malaga’ Regulatory Councils. These vines, almost concealed within the Mediterranean forest, are a testament to the winery’s dedication to preserving local viticultural heritage.

A Family Legacy In Winemaking

Victoria was originally a doctor before she shifted her focus to winemaking in 2007, continuing a family legacy that began in the late 1950s with her father, a pioneer in the Malaga wine industry.

Today, her son Guillermo, an agricultural engineer, joins her as the technical director, adding his expertise to the mix.

Since its inception, Bodegas Victoria Ordoñez e Hijos has produced acclaimed high-end wines. Their first release, ‘Voladeros’ from the 2017 harvest, along with their white, rose, and red varieties, has gained recognition in both national and international markets, particularly among haute cuisine restaurants.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.