Visiting Siete Vidas is like traveling to the middle ages. Similar in many ways to Galicia, but more remote, Asturias is green and wet, with stone hovels and wood smoke always in the air. Cangas del Narcea and the surrounding areas were important viticulturally from the 10th century, initially by monasteries and later local farmers. In the 1950’s coal mining abruptly stopped cultivation, dropping from 3 million kilos of grapes per year to its current 100,000. Production in the area has been consistently increasing over the last 15 years.
Cangas native Beatriz Pérez is working to revive local wine culture from indigenous grape varieties: Albarín Blanco, Albarín Negro, Verdejo Negro and Carrasquin. Beatriz cares for many of the few remaining plots of vines, entrusted to her by older locals, too old to tend them on their own, and also planting new vineyards. The vineyards are very steep, with some slopes over 30%, and require all work to be done manually. Cangas is one of only three regions (the others being Ribeira Sacra and Priorat), in Spain that are recognized as “Heroic Viticulture”.
Siete Vidas (seven lives), - “Seven people are part of our project, many more people fight day after day for the subsistence of the historic Asturian viticulture.”