12TH CENTURY – BEGINNINGS
Cistercian monks at Santa Maria de Poblet Abbey and the Knights Templar in Barberà teach local peasants how to cultivate productive vineyards and make excellent wine.
18TH CENTURY — EXPORTING
The export of wine across Europe and to the Americas turns grapevines into nearly the sole crop grown in Conca de Barberà. Vineyard owners construct borders and terraces to maximize the amount of farmable soil. A railroad line is built to connect Reus and Montblanc, facilitating the shipment of Conca de Barberà wines to the port towns in Tarragona province.
19TH CENTURY — UNIONIZING
The phylloxera plague ends the golden age but Conca de Barberà farmers rebound with renewed energy. They are amongst the first in Spain to form winemaking cooperatives and in 1894, a union is founded in the town of Barberà so farmers can collectively make wine.
19TH CENTURY – REPLANTING
The winemaking union in Barberà begins replanting vineyards under the leadership of local landowner Joan Esplugas. On a previous trip to France, Esplugas had learned techniques and strategies to effectively fight off phylloxera.
20TH CENTURY – MARKETING
Joan Poblet i Teixidó, an attorney and journalist from the town of Montblanc, promotes the unionization of farmers in the weekly newspapers of the era. Another notable figure of the time is Albert Talavera, an attorney who worked to unite separate winemaking cooperatives into a single federation.
20TH CENTURY – COOPERATIVE WINERY
In 1903, Spain’s first cooperative winery is built in Barberà and is considered the country’s first new construction built for this purpose. Josep M. Rendé becomes the leader of the cooperative movement and in 1912, he orders the construction of a winery in his native town of L’Espluga de Francolí.