The roots of Nekeas reach back beyond the XVII century thanks to its name and the families that own the company.
Extremely valuable, ancient documents are still conserved –copies of which are on display at the Winery- which describe the “day-to-day life” revolving around vineyard and wine in ancient times. The earliest, dating from 1572, tells us that more than 142,000 litres of wine were produced in Añorbe. In another, from 1601, the first apeo (now the land register) performed in the municipality of Añorbe describes the surface area covered by vineyards that year: 1,653 peonadas, equivalent to 82 hectares.
Another document from 1694 gives permission for an old vineyard pulled up due to age to be replanted, showing just how far back the characteristic regulation of vineyards in Europe goes.
The law of supply and demand also dates back a long time, as demonstrated in two documents from consecutive years: 1802 and 1803. In the first year, 1,200 kg/hectare were produced and a pitcher of wine cost 6 reales. 4,000 kg/hectare were produced the next year and a pitcher cost 2 reales.
In more recent times -one of the founding partners was witness to the consequences-, in 1899, phylloxera broke out in the Valley of Nekeas and devastated 300 of the almost-400 hectares of vineyards that existed at the time. In 1900, it destroyed the remaining 100.
The tenacity and vocation of the vine growers of the day meant that the vineyards were recuperated in barely two decades and by the 1950s covered an area similar to that seen at the end of the XIX century, nearly 400 hectares. From the 1960s onwards, industrial development in the Pamplona District and the low prices offered for grapes managed to do what phylloxera had failed to do, gradually eat away at the vineyards in Nekeas, all bar small, hard-to-reach plots of Garnacha in the upper reaches of the valley. Other small vineyards planted in amongst orchards and small vegetable gardens grown for family subsistence also survived.
It was in 1989 that the descendants of those original families of vine growers pooled together some of their lands and began to grow vines once again. A few years later, in 1993, they built a winery in the middle of the vineyards.
In 2007-2009, with the Nekeas wine project consolidated, the families contributed their remaining properties to get a new project under way by planting 200 hectares of olive trees, bringing back the centuries-old presence of olive groves to our fields, something which almost disappeared in 1956 when freezing cold temperatures saw the thermometer drop to -21ºC. Until then many of the vineyards had been surrounded by “feet” of olive trees, several olive-oil presses existing in the village until a new one involving modern machinery was built in 1947. In 2011, the 200 hectares of olive grove were followed by the construction of a magnificent olive-oil mill below the winery with state-of-the-art technology.
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