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Anna Espelt

We’ve known Anna Espelt since 2005, when we started working with her family’s estate, Espelt Viticultors, in DO Empordà. Having […]

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Anna Espelt

We’ve known Anna Espelt since 2005, when we started working with her family’s estate, Espelt Viticultors, in DO Empordà. Having studied habitat restoration and organic farming, Anna has always sought to bring her values in line with the farming practices at her family’s large estate of 200 hectares. While managing her family’s operations, she has also been pursuing something more personal – a project focused on 25 hectares of vineyards collectively called Mas Marés located within the Cap de Creus Nature Reserve of Spain. While hiking around this area, she recognized the potential to revitalize some ailing vineyard sites and discovered evidence of human interaction with this ancient landscape dating back to the early Bronze Age. At once, Anna knew this place was special, not only for the wine it could produce but for the fact that humans had been interacting with this land for millennia.

When asked to describe her work in Cap Creus, Anna states that it is a land of granite, wind, blue skies, and the smell of wild herbs and sea spray. While it may seem odd that she doesn’t mention vineyards in this description, it is largely because vines have been an integral part of this landscape, shaped in equal parts by nature and human hands. In the US, our National Parks strive to minimize the impact of civilization, whereas, in this part of Catalunya, there is no escaping it. What might seem like a relic of a glacier is a standing stone erected by human hands over 4000 years ago for some long-forgotten purpose. With Anna’s dedication to organic and regenerative farming, these vineyards can once again be brought into balance with the surrounding flora and fauna. Through her work, Anna is paying tribute to the thousands of years of interaction between her ancestors and the land they’ve inhabited.

For such an intimate project, Anna works with Picapolla, Lledoner Blanc, Lledoner Roig, and Lledoner Negre. These are the local names for Clairette, Garnacha Blanca, Garnacha Roja (Gris), and Garnacha Negra. Anna chose these varieties because they seem best adapted to the sandy, granitic soils, show resilience to the nearly constant wind, and perfectly express the minerality and salinity of Cap de Creus. The vineyards are intermixed with oak trees, pastures, and fields of wild herbs, and the farming is certified organic. She tills her soils only when it benefits the natural cover crops and utilizes organic inputs only when it aids the entire ecosystem. Pruning is undertaken to keep the vines’ health balanced with that of the surrounding plants, resulting in lower yields but more resilient vines. Everything is harvested by hand, with the first selection in the vineyard and the second at the cellar. Having long enjoyed our visits to the Cap de Creus for its stunning natural beauty and heady aromas of wild herbs in bloom and the salty tang from the sea, whenever we feel the need to revisit from afar, we always have a bottle of Anna’s wines to transport us there. 


“[Anna] Espelt pioneered the local renaissance of Grenache Gris, which can make arguably more interesting, more perfumed wines”

– Jancis Robinson
Catalunya, Spain
  • Location
    Catalunya, Spain
  • Primary Appellation
  • Proprietor
    Anna Espelt
  • Winemaker
    Anna Espelt
  • Size / Elevation
    25 hectares / 25 meters
  • Age of Vines
    17 years
  • Farming
    Certified organic
  • Varieties
    Picapolla (Clairette), Lledoner Blanc (Grenache Blanc), Lledoner Roig (Grenache Gris), Lledoner Negre (Grenache Noir)
  • Cellar
    Hand harvested, partially destemmed, gentle pressing for the whites, short maceration for the reds, natural yeast fermentation in stainless steel tanks or oak vats, aging in concrete eggs, and neutral 500-1200L French oak barrels