Viticultural area: Ribeira Sacra

Associated viticultural areas Spain Spain Galicia Galicia Ribeira Sacra Ribeira Sacra

Ribeira Sacra, O Bolo-Larouco

Wine-growing systems in GaliciaThe most certain origins date back to the Roman conquest. Legionnaires were given land in return for work done and, as was their custom, planted vineyards. The Romans arrived in these areas attracted by the gold mines and waged war against the Cantabrians and the Asturians under the orders of Octavius Augustus. It was Marcus Vespasian Agrippa to end the conflicts in 19 B.C.. The origin of the varieties is connected with crosses of cultivar brought by the Roman colonizers on dioecious specimens of Vitis silvestris, selected or not by primitive populations of Western Europe. Also the traditional form of growing, that is the Greek vase of Asiatic-Aegean origin, testifies to the ancient history of vine-growing in this area. A strong impact on vine-growing is also attributed to the work of many Medieval monasteries.

Facts and figures
Total wine-growing area of Galicia (ha.)

32,330

Total wine-growing area on difficult terrain
(altitude, steep slopes, terracing) (ha.)

3,392

Area with slopes > 30% (ha.)

3,392

Area at an altitude > 500 m above sea level (ha.)

2,774

Area terraced (ha.)

2,120

Maximum altitude of the vineyards (m above sea level)

1,000

Area of vineyards on difficult terrain

Hills and mountain slopes above rivers

(Data updated to 2006)

Subdivision of the area

The most common situation, 73% of producers covering 93.8% of the whole area, is small plots of less than 0.2 ha. Also holdings with an area between 0.2 and 1 ha are very frequent, 25.8% of producers, covering 6.1% of the area. Only 2.2% of the wineries cultivate over one ha; this involves 0.1% of the area.

Wine-growing landscape

Vines are grown on terraces and walls built of local stone, with the walls extending for a total of about 8,000 km.
The landscape is very distinctive, consisting of steep valleys with terraced vineyards and dry stone walls alternated with large uncultivated areas.
The steepness of the slopes makes it difficult to maintain the area and it is also hard to look after the vineyards since special mechanized vehicles are required.

Main vines

White grapes:

  • Godello
  • Albariño
  • Treixadura
  • Doña branca
  • Torrontés
  • Loureira
Black grapes:

  • Mencía
  • Garnacha
  • Mouratón