In case you weren't aware, there's wine that's made right here in the city of Barcelona. Back in 2006, we tried one of the red wines from the vineyards in Collserola (an idea by the former mayor, Joan Clos). It was, shall we say, not easy to swallow. But the good news is things have changed a lot since 2010, when the L'Olivera cooperative of Vallbona de las Monges took over the production (which until then was under the control of the city's Parks and Gardens department – gasp!). Nowadays, they make two reds, the Vinyes de Barcelona and the Vinyes de Collserola (Syrah plus Garnacha), both with the delicious sparkle and acidity of a young wine, and the complexity of a year in oak barrels.
And even more good news is that the majority of workers at the Can Calopa farmhouse (and the one in Vallbona) – some 20 young people between 18 and 32 years old – deal with psychiatric disabilities and are 'unprotected people who come from a broken family structure', according to the project director, María Dolores Llonch. L'Olivera reached an agreement with the Barcelona City Council: 'You take charge of Can Calopa and we'll keep the wine,' recalls Llonch.
But they didn't manage to drink enough to bring down the entire production, and a further agreement had the Council keeping 100 bottles of each red for events, with L'Olivera selling the rest. Today, they produce some 8,000 bottles a year, and 25,000 in total if you take into account the production at Vallbona. The benefits echo from this social viticulture project, which now also includes the Masía de Can Calopa as a unique wine tourism destination.