The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 3: European Gardens (500AD-1850)

Vineyard in Spain

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518. The vineyard of Mr. Gordon, a Scottish gentleman, long established at Xeres, and one of the most considerable merchants there, lies a few miles distant from the town, and the ride to it is extremely pretty, through exceedingly narrow winding lanes, enclosed by gigantic hedges of aloe and Indian fig, varied by olive woods; the hills, as well as valleys, being thickly covered with vineyards, with white cortijos peeping out from each. On reaching this vineyard, which lies in a deep valley, Sir A. Brooke found the labourers busily employed in picking the grapes, and carrying them on their heads in baskets to the pressing-house. The vines were trained very low, and close to the soil, on account of the greater degree of heat. The vineyard was originally planted with three kinds of vines, calculated to produce the wines desired. Difference of soil, how ever, and parts more or less exposed to heat, had produced several other varieties: some were nearly black; others white, large, and sweet; while others were tinged with a brownish red, of a dry flavour, and devoid of sweetness. From the last the sherry is produced. (Brooke's Spain, &c., p. 68.) The best wine in Spain is made from the Val de Penas (valley of stones) in La Mancha. In the valleys of the Sierra de Gador, Captain Cook observes, 'the vines are planted amongst the erumbling schist, and afford an excellent wine, where it seems impossible any thing should grow. Mulberries, olive, orange, and lemon trees, with patches of corn, are grown wherever they can be watered, and not the smallest portion of ground is lost.'