The Parra family works two large vineyards in La Mancha near the town of Las Mesas (The Tables), totaling some 445 acres, or around 180 hectares. One of the vineyards is named Entresendas (Between Paths). It sits in the dried bed of an ancient river. As a result Entresendas benefits from the rich, Alluvial soils, common to old river beds and perfect for the cultivation of grapes. The other vineyard is officially named Olla del Monte (Cooking Pan in the Mountain), but is known in local slang as Cuesta Colorá, the red slope. Cuesta Colorá is also the name of the Parra family’s remarkable sulfite-free wine. The red slopes are covered in chalky clay with a fine layer of pebbles atop it that capture the heat of the sun and keep the grapes warm during La Mancha’s chilly desert nights.
It may seem hard to believe, but in 1993, when the brothers, Francisco, Javier and Luis Parra founded Parra Family Organic, the idea of Organic certification was a new one. But the brothers decided it was a natural thing for them to pursue, given their long history of sustainable farming.
Francisco says: Organic certification was thought of as being highly eccentric when we started. When we explained what we were planning to do to the people around here, it made them nervous. But to us, it just made sense. Our family has always farmed in La Mancha. Some of us kept sheep. An uncle even had a vineyard. And the way we always worked our land was the traditional way, free from pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers.” So, they did things the way they had always done them and the world took notice. Today Parra Family Organic wines are 100 percent NOP-certified and the Parra brothers are the largest producers of Organic wines in Europe. It’s a position many wineries are now working very hard to be in, but for the Parras it never felt like anything special. “Some people call it Organic farming,” Francisco says, “for us it is just a continuation of what our family has always done.”