With the ongoing construction of our home and winery, we are makings decisions and laying plans for our future on a daily basis. We were struggling to find the time to think about the landscape design surrounding our property. All the while, an obvious and sustainable solution was emerging right in front of us.
The road that ascends from the river Ebro to our village of Elvillar was being rebuilt from its original very narrow and winding path. Plantations of vines and olive trees were going to be cleared to widen and straighten the road. The boundary markers were put in place long before construction started so you could clearly see what would be eliminated. Many old olive trees were going to be lost, which sparked the idea in David to inquire about relocating the trees to our property.
Olive trees are hardy and can live a very long time, for millennia in fact! Many of these trees had been around for 300 years. The idea of having mature trees with so much history on our property felt like our destiny. One of David’s friends from childhood, Toño, works for the village and had the same idea and concern for the trees. Together they worked together to form a committee and relocate the trees. Toño felt it was important to keep the trees in Elvillar and reached out to the community see if others were interested in saving the trees. Approximately 100 trees were saved, replanted and maintained thanks to Toño’s efforts.
We were responsible for the transport and replantation, which was money well spent. Toño helped David prune the trees so they could be removed and transported to their new home … our winery and surrounding vineyards. We now have 36 olive trees gracing our property, 25 of which are surrounding our newly planted Graciano vineyard.
Olive trees and vineyards historically were grown within the same parcel before society became obsessed with monoculture and production in exchange for money. You can often spot an older vineyard by the diversity that was maintained in the parcel. This stemmed from the self-sustaining society of our past, olive trees, vines and sometimes fruit trees shared the land as they were all dietary staples needed to feed their families.
As society evolved, the need to create olive oil has been replaced by a visit to the local supermarket and grapes are now grown as a commodity and sold in exchange for money. For as much as we live this life, it’s as if part of our soul yearns for us to reconnect with the past. David and I always seem to look back to move forward, it’s one thing that connects us – in a world where the chaos of our daily lives constantly tries to pull us apart. Over the new few years, the olive trees will heal, establish new roots, and will start to produce fruit once again. We will harvest the oil and use it to feed our family and our guests. As I write, I feel like the olive trees are a touchstone of our family … our story. We’ve changed, moved and had our branches clipped from time to time, but we too will evolve, grow and lay down new roots that will sustain our future.