27 Apr Olives vs. grapes
Rioja Alavesa (Rioja Alavesa) – a district in Spain, part of the province of Alava in the autonomous community of the Basque Country. This part of Spain is famous for its wine production and is part of the DOC (Denominación de Origen Calificada) Rioja. However, not many people know that in the place of vineyards there were once olive groves here.
In the early 1900s, olive trees dominated the landscape of the area. About 2,500 acres of trees covered Rioja Alavesu and provided agroeconomics in the absence of vineyards, which were only 500 acres and were destroyed by phylloxera.
The situation began to change in the 1950s, when grapes again became a profitable crop. The sale of olives soon turned out to be more profitable than the production of olive oil, which led to the destruction of 2,000 hectares of olive groves by the year 2000.
Fortunately, in the 2000s, the interest in the cultivation of olives reappeared. This change led to the launch of Oleum, a project launched in 2007, with the goal of putting an end to the destruction of olive groves, planting new trees and attracting the younger generation to the cultivation of olives and the production of oil. Currently, there are about 1,200 acres of olive trees in Rioja-Alaves, 500 of which survived exactly in the same place where they were 120 years ago. Such a “renaissance” of olive culture in the Basque country leads, in the first place, the development of oleotourism in the region.