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The Archaeology of Wine Making

Going into the Celler Cooperatiu Es Sindicat in Felanitx feels like going on a journey back in time. In fact, it feels a bit like being on an archaeological site of prehistoric eras, where layer upon layer reveal themselves as to how things were done a thousand years ago. Well, not quite, but perhaps you know what I mean.

Strictly speaking, one is not allowed to enter the building, I would assume. For a start, somebody owns the place, and it is all boarded up, so I may well have trespassed. I hope you won’t denounce me. Then, there are obvious dangers and safety risks. The erstwhile bodega has not been used for wine making for well over twenty-five years by now and consequently, its installations are run-down, ramshackle, decrepit and in parts, simply ruinous. By the same token, the industrious place is fascinating for its sheer size, its magnitude in ambition, the visual beauty of some of its details and the massive dimension in storage facilities for hectolitres upon hectolitres of wine. The massive silo tanks were built on-site in concrete and must hold some 10,000 litres each, or more. I counted about 130 of these tanks, allowing for a total of perhaps 1,500,000 litres of wine being macerated and consequently, subjected to the fermentation process, all at the same time. Plus, there are a dozen or two of cistern-like storage tanks, holding up to 30,000 litres each, plus four massively big cylindrical storage tanks outside holding perhaps 100,000 litres, or even more, each. They must have drunk a lot of wine in the old days, here in Mallorca. There is no bodega of this size and enormity in present day Mallorca that I would know of, and I’ve been to a fair number of them.

There is an interesting website on the Internet run by a circle of friends of the old Sindicat building, if you should want to know more and in greater detail. From that website, I borrowed a video dating from 1929 documenting the construction of the building, the production of the wine and the transport of the Bocoyes (wooden wine barrels of 640 litres capacity) by train. See if you like it, the way I did.

The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: July 5th, 2011. The time was 13:23:31. The video was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of YouTube and llatzermendez.

Muchas gracias.

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