T: +34983103223 Ctra. Rueda - Nava del Rey, Km 1 (VP 8902), 47490, Rueda, Valladolid, España. GPS 41º 24´ 09.35" N, 4º 58` 53.13" W


Menade now has 260 hectares of vineyards: 160 in production and a further 100 yet to come on stream.

Our oldest 30 hectares are pre-phylloxera bush vines, with a further 130 hectares of plants aged between 18 and 30 years old.

Our current plantations consist of:

  • 120 hectares of Verdejo
  • 20 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc
  • 10 hectares of Viura
  • 10 hectares of Tinta de Toro

Our Verdejo, SB & Viura follow a planting framework of 3 x 1.5 and 2.8 x 1.20 and lie at an altitude of 734 metres above sea level.

Our Tinta de Toro vines, which are old (between 80 and 120 years old), ungrafted and not irrigated, are planted in a framework of 2.20 x 2.20 at some 700 metres above sea level in neighbouring Toro in largely homogenous soils of between 80 centimetres and 1 metre in depth consisting primarily of clay and limestone. Yields are on average of approximately 200 kilos per hectare.

Our Rueda estate is situated between the confines of the Duero river immediately to the north and the Zapardiel river immediately to the south whereas the east and western perimeters consist of an extensive mass of smooth, round pebbles – the vestiges of ancient, earlier fluvial courses.

Location coordinates (Rueda): GPS 41024’09.35’’ North 4058’53.13’’ West

MonthMedium TemperatureMaximum TemperatureMinimum TemperatureDay of minimum temperatureMonthly PrecipitationAccumulated Precipitation

Classification: Our soils are primarily of sandy clay.

Texture: Surface texture is fairly homogenous, with a predominance of round pebbles lying in either sandy clay or calcareous clay.

Carbonate content: Soils are rich in carbonates, with the percentage varying between 15 and 25%.

Geomorphologic description: Our vineyards lie in the so called ‘alluvial plains and low terraces’ of the Duero River. These lie more or less at the same height and what is important is their abundant layers of limestone.

Relief: Gradients of less than 3 to 5%

Salinity:  Free – ie. none

Active limestone: Between 4 and 15% on average but sometimes as much as 20%

Soil management has changed a great deal in recent years: and whereas once upon a time the main emphasis was on controlling grasses and weeds and ensuring enough water, this eventually gave way to the use of herbicides which could not only be applied by machine but was cheaper, only for this in turn to result in other problems such as the plants eventually becoming resistant to these kinds of treatments.

Later, in the interests of guaranteeing consumers consistency and typicity, the next phase was the grafting of more productive and vigorous clones, which in turn led to a major re-assessment of vineyard management.

Ultimately, this was interpreted in some quarters as necessitating the cutting back of leaves, branches et al in order to increase fruitful growth and improve quality; which is not only illogical but increases costs; and so now the circle has turned again and quality orientated growers are seeking to decrease vigour and fertility (using less fertile clones, less vigorous graftings, pruning and green harvesting less radically) even not working the soil at all or indeed encouraging natural vegetal and grass cover – with a view to producing more natural wines that are no longer ‘forced’.

To this end, we at Menade undertook an exhaustive study of the many Verdejo clones, the many possible pruning techniques, and the workings of natural vegetal and grass cover and concluded that the best balance would be achieved by seeking to effect a judicious mix of these last two.

We therefore now aim for natural, spontaneous vegetal cover (green in winter, dry in the spring-summer), which provides our vines with balanced competition and serves to balance their vigour, yields and ultimately their quality.

Advantages of natural vegetal cover

  • Protects against erosion
  • Performance monitoring
  • Regulates yields
  • Activates microbial life
  • Increases organic material in the soil
  • Reduces soil compaction
  • Makes agricultural machinery easier to use
  • Creates improved soil structure
  • Makes everything healthier (reduces the effects of botrytis)

Disadvantages of covers

  • Results in competition for water and nutrients (more nitrogen)
  • A higher propensity to Spring frosts
  • Necessitates much more careful winemaking (especially as regards whites)

Competing energies

  • This is most immediately apparent in the competition between the rival embryonic roots of the vine seedlings and those pertaining to the natural vegetal cover, especially at the higher levels, as they vie for water and nitrogen. After the first few years, however, balance is achieved.
  • During the winter, on the other hand, the weight of the dead wood pruned from the vines creates a strain; whereas in the summer the minimal vegetal cover and diminution of growth of the new generation of strands emanating from the vine shoots improves the quality of the grapes.

Regulating Production

  • As we have seen, production can be regulated in many different ways; and the way we do things tends to result in fewer berries of less weight.
  • In dry climates and shallow soils plant life competes for water, but in deep soils and areas of more abundant rainfall the fight is for nitrogen. It is therefore most convenient to have the facility of drip irrigation, as this can be used to either accelerate or apply the brakes to the phenolic circumstances of the day.

The quality of the grapes

  • In accordance with the managed level of natural vegetal cover, the average weight of each bunch of grapes will decrease by between 5 and 25% and the berries themselves by between 3 and 7%.
  • By the same token the density and development of new generations of ‘nietos’ (the strands that will eventually become vine branches) decreases significantly, resulting in far fewer endogamic diseases given better air circulation and less exposure to the sun by virtue of which there is a major accumulation of sugar and a decrease in malic acid prior to their growth, which is particularly beneficial for black grape varieties. In addition, véraison (the period in which grapes develop their colour) also tends to occur a few days earlier.
  • Two further advantages to this way of natural farming are a distinct improvement in the phenolic quality of the grapes (less nitrogen and magnesium) together with an increase in resveratrol, a type of natural phenol which inhibits botryrtis; and the practical result of all this is wines of more colour, structure and length.
  • One final comment: the natural decrease of nitrogen must be carefully scrutinized; as it inevitably results in longer fermentations.

Further comments regarding the soil

  • This way of farming increases the soil’s permeability, porosity and microbic flora thereby also increasing its organic content.
  • Equally, the disappearance of roots from the natural vegetal cover tends to facilitate the flow of water and of air.
  • As a consequence, the temperature of the soil lessens and the humidity in the air increases and this leads to a higher risk of frost.

Respecting the environment

Following exhaustive experimentation and trials, the levels of sulphur and copper in our wines are now zero and we are now trying out all manner of natural infusions in a whole variety of contexts – from nettles to horse´s tails, bicarbonates, bentonites and whey.

_MG_6856 (2)
_MG_6959 V2
uvas verdejo (3)
vendimias merce (12)
viñedo (4)