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All Aboard …..all aboard the Land Rover Express to Santaella

Sunday 4th September 2016 was certainly a day we will never forget.

Having been told to be at the train station in Montilla for 8am, as breakfast was on offer we did not mind. We did not know what the would unfold that day.

So here we are at the meeting point at Montilla train station with Rafa Cabello, José Fangueiro, Francisco Robles and ourselves. Not getting the train so what next?

We are all are familiar with Rafa so let’s introduce José. He is a freelance photographer born in Portugal and now living in Switzerland who takes stunning photographs. So you can imagine how were so delighted that he was able to accompany us on this trip and capture some of these memorable moments.

Laura and Erik working at Whisky Live Paris 2014 – Photo courtesy & Copyright © – José Fangueiro 

We first met José in Paris in September 2014 at Whisky Live while working on the New Zealand Whisky Collection stand.

Where worlds collide, while in Montilla, we managed to spend some quality time together with José and Rafa. We are very privileged that he captured some of our visit and that he has kindly given us permission to use some of these photographs.

Following Francisco & Rafa

So the journey begins but not by rail, but Francisco had brought his 1991 Land Rover which led the way while we followed in a car with José as our driver.

Our 1st destination was the Hotel Doña Aldonza near Santaella,  where we transferred into the rear of Francisco’s Land Rover. Even at 9.00am in the morning the temperature was in the high 30s (degrees Celsius) and heat was intense.

Laura and José in the Land Rover

Francisco maneuvering the Land Rover at the Villargallegos vineyard

Next destination the 100% organic Pedro Ximénez Villargallegos vineyard near to Santaella where we would witness the start of the harvest and the pasera.

Rafa, Laura & Erik with Francisco at the Villargallegos vineyard – Photo courtesy & Copyright © – José Fangueiro 

This was a real privilege and a huge honour to be invited and shown round personally by Francisco himself.

Whilst showing us around Francisco was diligently monitoring the harvest and pasera.

The dedicated grape pickers and pasera workers had already started 2 hours earlier just after dawn.

Rafa, Jose & Laura enjoying the Pedro Ximenez grapes straight from the vine

We were able to taste the Pedro Ximénez grapes straight from the vine and assist albeit briefly in adding grapes to the pasera.

The harvesters heading for a break from the picking

Something we will never forget – Photo courtesy & Copyright © – José Fangueiro 

Our experience didn’t stop there. After leaving the vineyard and pasera we returned to Bodegas Robles in Montilla. We will share this visit with you soon.

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