Vine and raisin in Malaga in Axarquia
A treasure under sun
The pasa (raisin), a tradition and a typical culture of Malaga province in Axarquia
The culture of vine and raisin in Malaga is ancestral, specifically in Axarquia Costa del Sol.
It began with the Phoenicians who brought back from Egypt the Muscat grape variety from Alexandria, which we know locally as “moscatel” (see the dedicated page) .
The photos are at the bottom of the article.
The Romans and then the moors improved each time this culture. Today, the cultivation of the vine is still practiced as it was several centuries ago. the vines are cultivated on the mountainside preventing any mechanization. The man is only accompanied by a donkey or a mule for the harvest.
Most of the vineyard is used to produce wine, and the other part to produce raisins (la pasa).
The production of wines and raisins with paseros
After the harvest, the bunches of grapes are dried in the sun in paseros (see the film and pics below). They are directly placed on the ground.
Seen from France, this technique of drying grapes is similar to straw wines. Part of the sun-dried moscatel grapes will be used to produce the famous Malaga sweet wines (DO Malaga). The grapes become a little dehydrated and then concentrate in sugar.
Malaga’s raisin production system
To make the raisins, bunches stay placed in the sun for another 2 weeks. Note that for 3 years now the UN (through the FAO) has recognized as GIAHS – Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems – the entire cultivation and drying system of raisins in Axarquia . This system is recognized as respecting the land, the environment, a method of sustainable agriculture with a significant social impact. An FAO article -in Spanish- presents all the details of this culture in Axarquia
To protect the grapes from possible rain in this region of southern Andalusia, the winegrowers used to use a shell in which they blew to emit a sound and warn, from one mountain to another, of the onset of rain. This alert allowed everyone to cover the grapes with a canvas. It was before the phone came in, but it’s not that old.
Cut the grapes (picar la pasa) after drying on the paseros
Once the bunches of grapes are dried, the whole village, the whole family, takes part in the “pica de la pasa”. The grapes are all cut one by one even today and it is traditional for the majority of women and children to participate in this activity.
Wine tourism in Andalucia: 2 wine routes to discover
There is the Raisin and Wine Route (the Ruta de la Pasa), and it is truly a route to discover. It crosses the villages of Cutar, El Borge , Moclinejo, Almachar and Comares . The ideal is to do it from August to October to see the paseros filled with grapes… and also to taste them fresh. It is truly spectacular.
If you wish to discover this route with a passionate guide: from mid-August (and until the end of October), a local guide offers to make you discover all these traditions, this culture and these villages. What it offers is only in small groups of 2 to 8 people maximum. All the details and the price for this day are below :
For those who love wine experiences and discoveries of bodegas , this same guide offers all year round the “Wine and Sun Tour”. You will cross 3 beautiful white villages (Torrox, Competa, Sayalonga) and discover 3 bodegas.
During this day you will discover the local culture of the Moscatel vine. You will have the opportunity to visit among the cellars, one of a producer of moscatel among the most famous.
He also had the honor of serving one of its wines at the wedding banquet of the current King Felipe VI and Letizia. The details of this day and the price are indicated in the link below :
Here is a movie, shot in Almachar … in 1960. If you come between the end of August and October, you will find the same scenes of life, that has not changed.
Discover other beautiful places in Andalusia in the Andalusia blog pages.
Here is the link to receive our newsletter from the andaluciamia.com blog
If you are on holiday for a few days in the area, or anywhere else in Andalusia, here is a selection of great activities around grapes and wine :