Zaragoza

The old Iberian settlement of Salduie, where the Romans founded Caesaraugusta and which the Moslems later called Saraqusta, although it was known as Medina Albaida (the white town), and the phonetic derivations that transformed it into Zaragoza, hosts the XII Terroir Congress that will be held from 18 to 22 June 2018.

Zaragoza is the capital of the Autonomous Community of Aragon, a territory located in the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula, which gave rise to the Kingdom of Aragon. The latter was extremely influential in the Mediterranean between the 13th and 14th centuries, whose maritime routes the monarchs of Aragon used to transport wine.

Aragon has always been a welcoming land as well as a meeting place, as this is where the main communication routes from the north and east of Spain converge, taking advantage of the wide Ebro River valley. Its location at a crossroads was possibly one of the reasons why it is acknowledged as a hospitable territory. Its surface area is the equivalent to Switzerland with some clearly defined limits. In the north, where it shares the Pyrenees with France, it has an Atlantic climate and Alpine vegetation. In the west, the Iberian mountain range harnesses the low humidity that remains in the Atlantic winds as they pass over the peninsula. The south receives the Mediterranean influence and the entire centre of the region, far away from any maritime effect, has a continental climate with arid areas and low rainfall – less than 300 mm a year. In the north, in contrast, more than 1,000 mm of rain may fall, often in the form of snow. These important water resources have been used to transform 40,000 hectares of rain-fed and not very productive land into fertile fields of irrigated land thanks to the new irrigation systems.

Spring and Autumn are the seasons when it rains the most, which is why, in the areas where irrigation is not possible, Aragonese people cultivate vines because they learnt from experience that the best wines were obtained when the plants were well watered from the first shoots until the fruit forms, and when they underwent certain restrictions during the ripening period, in summer. In Aragon, adapting vine-growing to the medium has resulted in low yields, and as it is impossible for them to compete with a quantity-based production method, the vine-growers have had to seek added value with the wine quality. Practically all the vine-growing surfaces, therefore, are protected by one of the four PDOs or five PGIs that will be visited during the Congress, which is why the Regional Government has shown interest in the XII Terroir Congress being held in Zaragoza.
Regarding the city of Zaragoza, one of its features is its good location in the centre of the Ebro valley, a land and air communications node. It is a dynamic city that has become the financial centre of the Ebro, and its people are renowned for their friendliness and welcoming attitude. It has some important historical and cultural attractions that entice many tourists every year. During the sessions the delegates will have little time to discover them, so on Friday afternoon – the 22nd – we will show them to those delegates who still remain. The Terroir Congress, faithful to its spirit, must also serve to discover the geographical medium where it is held, with its natural and human factors.