About us

Núria Altés was born in Batea (Terra Alta) into the latest generation of a family which has worked with and taken care of their winemaking heritage over the years and passed their love for the land on to her.

Rafael De Haan, was born in Kent (England) to an English father and Spanish mother. His passion for wine led him to discover the Terra Alta region and much more – a family and life project.

Experiences growing up among vines and a passion for the world of wine and this landscape encouraged Núria and Rafa to start working the family vineyards in 2010 and develop the project we now know as Herència Altés.

Herència Altés

Organic wines born from the love of a land and a commitment to care for it

Herència Altés is a family-owned winery in Terra Alta devoted to vine-growing and the production of fresh and elegant wines.

We are firmly committed to organic agriculture and sustainable winemaking and show the utmost respect for the environment and a rich biodiversity which strengthens and protects these lands and their local surroundings. Taking care of natural and historical heritage by conserving old vines, landscapes, and traditional dry-stone walls means we can continue to produce wines in such a way that future generations will also be able to enjoy these lands and their fruits.

We work with local grapes, especially Garnatxa varieties. Our flagship grape and the symbol of our lands is Garnatxa Blanca. We aim to create wines in as natural and respectful a way as possible while striving for honesty and varietal elegance in the finished result.

Taste our wines and feel yourself swept away to a special place, Terra Alta: experience the character of the land, our terroir, and a way of life, Herència Altés.

Vineyards

Using organic agriculture methods, we cultivate 50 hectares of vines located at altitudes ranging from 420 to 500 metres above sea level in and around Batea and Gandesa in the Terra Alta region. Twenty hectares are dedicated to old vines, planted between the early and mid twentieth century.

We work with a firm commitment to conserving these old vines and the natural landscapes they grow in, respecting the old dry-stone walls which divide plots of land and are reserves of biodiversity and symbols of our culture and landscape. These walls have stood for years, allowing us to grow vines on terraces on the natural slopes of the land and separate the particular and unique characteristics of each of our small plots of vines.

ENTREGA MAPES GANDESA B A TEA

La Serra

Hectares

21.6 ha

Altitude

425-450 metres above sea level

Orientation

East-facing

Varieties

Garnatxa, Garnatxa Blanca, Hairy Garnatxa and Carignan

Planted

Early 20th century – 2018

Soil type

Different soils, mainly chalky

Wines

La Serra Blanc, La Serra Negre, Celastrina, Garnatxa Blanca and Garnatxa Negra.

Located between the small towns of Batea and Gandesa, La Serra is one of the most emblematic plots owned by Herència Altés. Thanks to its altitude and position it is influenced by two important local winds, the south-eastern Garbí from the sea and the drier north-western Mestral. The effects of the winds and the low yields (between 0.5 and 1 kg of fruit per plant) the hundred-year-old vines produce, result in wines full of character.

La Xalamera

Hectares

15 ha

Altitude

402-442 metres above sea level

Orientation

East-facing

Varieties

Garnatxa Blanca, Garnatxa Negra and Carignan

Planted

1959 - 2018

Soil type

Thin layer of sandy-clay soil over limestone rock. Poor in organic matter.

Wines

La Xalamera, Benufet and l’Estel

La Xalamera is a bucolic estate made up of a mosaic of small plots separated by dry-stone walls. Located on the eastern side of a plateau, vines are planted on two slopes of a central valley, meaning some receive more sun or shade than others, an interesting contrast at play in the ripening process. The ground is hard to work and it is difficult for roots to take hold as there is very little soil before we reach layers of rock, which even appear on the surface in some spots. The resulting wines are particularly mineral and fresh.

Lo Grau de l'Inquisidor

Hectares

21 ha

Altitude

400-470 metres above sea level

Orientation

East and South-East facing

Varieties

Garnatxa, Garnatxa Blanca, Hairy Garnatxa and Syrah

Planted

Between 1948 and 2020

Soil type

Chalky-silt-clay

Wines

Lo Grau de l’Inquisidor, Benufet and Herència Altés Rosé

Our winery building where we have developed our environmental project is located in the Lo Grau de l’Inquisidor estate at the foot of a 483 metre high hill known as Coll de Moro, home to the remains of an ancient Iberian settlement. The chalky-silt and clay soils retain water and minerals and resist the intense heat relatively easily.

Benufet

Hectares

8.2 ha

Altitude

420-450 metres above sea level

Orientation

East and North-East facing

Varieties

Garnatxa, Garnatxa Blanca, Hairy Garnatxa and Syrah

Planted

1984 - 2001

Soil type

Chalky-clay soil over limestone rock

Wines

Benufet, l’Estel, La Pilosa and Trementinaire

Located at altitude on a plateau, the influence of north-western and south-eastern winds make it an ideal spot for cultivating vines and producing perfectly healthy fruit.

Manyol

Hectares

0.5 ha

Altitude

390 metres above sea level

Orientation

North-East

Varieties

Garnatxa

Planted

1999

Soil type

Sandy-silt (panal)

Wines

Pendiente

Garnatxa Negra vines thrive in a kind of sandy-silt soil at Manyol. Known locally as ‘panal’, this fine whitish sandy soil originated in desert-like land over 60 million years ago. As it reflects the intense sunlight, it is an ideal soil to help grapes ripen perfectly.

Borrasona

Hectares

2 ha

Altitude

400-425 metres above sea level

Orientation

South and South-East facing

Varieties

Garnatxa

Planted

1980 - 1995

Soil type

Chalky-clay soil

Wines

l’Estel

This estate consists of two very different plots, though both are poor in organic matter and not very productive. The lower area has a more clay-based soil, whereas the terrace above it has a more chalky ground and produces very low yields.

Mas Vell

Hectares

1.2 ha

Altitude

330 metres above sea level

Orientation

North-East facing

Varieties

Garnatxa

Planted

2005

Soil type

Chalky-clay soil

Wines

l’Estel

Located to the west of Batea, the Mas Vell vineyard is located in one of the most emblematic spots near the town, the spectacular Vall Major valley. Surrounded by plateaus, the valley gave Batea its original name, Adeba, meaning riverboat. A name symbolizing the importance of the landscape here.

Climate

The Terra Alta region enjoys a dry continental Mediterranean climate. At its centre, it records a relatively low annual rainfall of only 400 mm on average and the local winds bear a huge influence on the area. Two of the winds are particularly significant from our point of view: the south-easterly Garbí wind brings freshness from the sea to the vineyards, whereas the north-westerly Cerç or Mestral is a dry wind which helps to prevent the spread of fungi and diseases affecting the plants. Both winds are key to ensuring the vines are healthy and produce top quality fruit, while the Els Ports mountain range which separates Terra Alta from the Mediterranean coast protects the area from cases of extreme bad weather linked to sea storms.

Winters are cold, averaging between 5ºC and 7ºC, and summers, very hot. Daytime temperatures can reach as high as 38ºC in the summer, although they usually fall below 20ºC at night. To sum up, it is a region with great temperature differences across the year and plentiful hours of strong sunlight, which all go towards helping the vines’ growth cycle.

Varieties

The local varieties from the region represent the legacy of generations of winemakers, the identity of these agricultural landscapes and the true character of our wines.

We firmly believe in using local varieties, especially Garnatxa vines, to create the freshness and elegance of our wines as protecting and maintaining this vine-growing heritage forms part of our values and commitment to the land. We aim for our wines to maintain and express the essence of the fruit and the soils they are born from and the character of the Terra Alta region.

GARNATXA BLANCA:

The star variety in Terra Alta, Garnatxa Blanca has been grown here ever since the seventeenth century when the Church decided to plant it to replace old Malvasia vines. A drought-resistant variety, it adapts really well to warm climates. Its extremely versatile fruit can be used in different ways to produce dry, sweet or rancio wines. The most widely-planted grape variety in the area, Garnatxa Blanca is our local treasure!

GARNATXA:

Garnatxa (or Garnatxa Negra or Grenache Noir) is one of the most commonly-cultivated grape varieties in the Iberian Peninsula. Originally from Aragon, it is a vigorous and austere vine. A pleasant variety with sweet tannins, it is widely used and loved around the world. Present in Terra Alta for many hundreds of years, Garnatxa is an undemanding, elegant and fun grape variety.

HAIRY GARNATXA:

Hairy Garnatxa came about as a mutation of Garnatxa which adapts better to the Mediterranean climate. The hairy underside to its leaves moderates transpiration in hot weather, protecting the plant from dry periods and high temperatures. It evolved in different areas in Catalonia, including Terra Alta, and adapts perfectly to dry and poor soils. Grapes are large and thick-skinned. An exotic, fresh and elegant variety!

CARIGNAN:

Known locally as Carinyena, it is one of the oldest varieties grown in Terra Alta. A rustic and wild vine which has been tamed over the centuries. Grapes are medium-sized and high in tannins meaning its wines have plentiful acidity and are ideal for ageing. A wonderfully long life awaits a Carignan wine.

SYRAH:

Syrah is a grape well-loved around the world. Although it was not originally from here, it has adapted perfectly to the area. We plant it at altitudes to seek out its freshness and acidity. The vines produce small to medium-sized grapes with thick skins. Concentrated fruit with plentiful but smooth tannins, it is an ideal variety for long ageing processes!

On the land

We work our vineyards manually using organic agricultural methods and pay the utmost respect to the environment and the natural and cultural heritage these lands make up. We believe winegrowing forms part of the local ecosystem and finding a balance between agriculture and the surrounding environment guarantees the good health of our vineyards and wards off the threats the landscape faces. All our work is focused on respecting and maintaining this balance.

We began the move to organic production methods back in 2015 and nowadays all our vineyards proudly bear the official organic agriculture certificate. We also use alternativeagroecology techniques to care for the health of our plants and help generate life in the soils and surrounding lands.

With its low rainfall and poor soils, the Terra Alta landscape is an ally we must take care of for our vines to grow well. Our work respects the structure of the land and we make rational decisions about our vine-growing adapted to the specific features of the local climate. Depending on the wind strength and direction or the humidity found at each plot, we choose the best agricultural methods with the aim of conserving and improving the richness of each soil type.

We strive to maintain and continue the legacy our old vines have gifted us with, consolidating the rich values of the soil where tough roots dig deep to find nourishment and live for many years. With this in mind, we mainly cultivate dry-farmed goblet-trained vines which adapt better to the dry conditions of the region and form stronger roots.

Our winemaking represents all this – and much more. Through the special environmental project we have also developed, we help to protect the local landscape, a mosaic of small agricultural plots and woodland areas criss-crossed by dry-stone walls, and to restore its biodiversity, the plants and wildlife which are often under threat from unsustainable practices or invasive species.

In the winery

We have a philosophy of minimal intervention in the winery, meaning we aim to have the least possible external influence on the production process so as to achieve the freshness and elegance that characterize our wines.

We ferment the grapes with a series of micro-vinifications in small tanks, maintaining the grapes from different plots separate. The musts begin their fermentation naturally and spontaneously with local yeasts from the vineyards.

We only use free-run must when making white and rosé wines, whereas with red wines we add whole bunches of grapes to add freshness, texture and fruit to the wine. Fermentation and ageing are usually carried out in concrete tanks to achieve complexity from micro-oxygenation and keep external aromas to a minimum. In cases where we use wood, we prefer large (500 and 600 litre) barrels or 2,500 and 5,000 litre foudres for long ageing processes with little influence from the oak. The overall objective is to create fresh, serene and elegant wines brimming with character.

Commitment

Our objective here at Herència Altés is to integrate the whole growth cycle of our vines and our wine production within local ecosystems and to generate as little impact as possible on the environment.

Committed to the territory

Our work is inexorably connected to the natural and cultural heritage of our surroundings. For this reason, we have developed our own environmental project to respect the cultural heritage linked to vine-growing and wine production, to protect and conserve the landscape, and to restore biodiversity.

In 2016 we started a process to help recover and restore local wildlife and plants and their habitats in the Lo Grau de l’Inquisidor vineyards. Among other activities, we have planted thousands of native plants and trees to recreate natural habitats in the area as well as a botanical garden with its own natural pond.

We have installed bat shelters and nesting boxes for insect-eating birds around our vineyards to help reduce the plagues and diseases which affect vines. We have also carried out hacking methods to reintroduce species such as the barn owl and kestrel, and we have joined the Catalan Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (CBMS), a network of observers carrying out a regular census of butterfly populations and using the data to measure different environmental factors.

Committed to sustainability

We operate mainly with renewable energies thanks to the installation of photovoltaic panels that produce 80% of the energy we consume.

The winery has a large part of its surface subway which allows it to naturally achieve the desired temperature and humidity in the aging room. We also recycle rainwater for cleaning the winery, and continue to use rainwater for cleaning the winery, and we continue to work to further reduce our carbon footprint and achieve, in the coming years, complete energy self-sufficiency.

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Vineyards, custodians of a landscape. Wines, the essence of a land.