Documents dating back centuries reveal that by 500 BC, settlers were already cultivating grapevines in the Ebro Valley and, by the second century BC, there was widespread wine production throughout the region. One factor that influenced the development of grapevines as crops and their trade was the settlement of Romans in Somontano. They brought their advanced wine growing and production techniques, also contributing to the creation of trading companies.
In the Middle Ages, vineyards spread throughout the province of Huesca. During this period, the monasteries had a decisive influence on vine cultivation and caused a steep increase in the planting of grapevines in the surrounding area, as wine is essential for many Catholic rituals.
THE 19TH AND 20TH CENTURIES
However, the dates and events that were particularly noteworthy for our Designation of Origin started in the nineteenth century and were even more pronounced in the twentieth: In the 19th century, after phylloxera pests decimated French vineyards, a key event occurred for the future of wine in Somontano: the Lalanne family and winery moved to Somontano from Bordeaux and Buenos Aires, planting grape varieties including chardonnay, merlot and cabernet sauvignon, which have been part of the wine producing heritage of Somontano since that time. This led to increased wine production in the district, a boom in sales and an increase in exports. During this century, wine production in Huesca became progressively more closely linked and restricted to Somontano, due to its specialisation and skill in the region and the good quality of its wines.
In the twentieth century, specifically in the 1960s, the founding of the Somontano del Sobrarbe District Cooperative—which brought together the majority of the district’s wine producers—represented the region’s commitment to high quality viticulture as an engine for the economy and the first strides towards the creation of the Somontano Designation of Origin, which would be approved in 1984. Starting then, and particularly in the 90s, the entry of large winery business projects and their significant investments put Somontano on the map as among the best in the entire country.
THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE
With the advent of the 21st century, Somontano underwent a new historic moment marked by the arrival of new wineries, capital investments, production and sales growth and recognition of the quality of its wines by the most prestigious specialised guides and consumers.
Its success is the consequence of all the above, as well as joint work between the vine growers, wineries and the Regulatory Council to offer wine lovers a unique and versatile high-quality product. Our lands, in addition to being essential for our wines, are a top tourist destination.