Binissalem: Majorca’s wine town
Binissalem and wine…the two are inextricably linked. This town in the interior of the island was the very first on Majorca to introduce wines with the protected designation of origin “Denominación de Origen” (D.O.) onto the market. That was 30 years ago. The winemakers have a firm commitment to quality and to native grape varieties such as Mantonegro, Callet, Prensal Blanc and Gorgollassa. After all, these are the local vines that bring the unmistakable, authentic Majorca taste into your glass. In this regard, the wine producers from Binissalem were true pioneers. Five municipalities fall under the Binissalem D.O. and they are Santa Maria del Camí, Consell, Santa Eugènia, Sencelles and of course Binissalem.
Bustling wine festival
The focal point of the small town of Binissalem is the church of Nostra Senyora de Rubines. There’s always a lot happening around here in autumn when the famous festival – the Festa des Vermar – gets the whole town in motion. With music, dancing, communal meals in the village square and plenty of wine tasting, people let their hair down at the annual grape harvest festival. Visitors flock here from all over Majorca to be part of it, drawn by activities such as grape-treading in the church square.
Grape-stomping and hilarious battle of the grapes
A contest in which the competitors climb into a wooden wine vat and trample the grapes with their bare feet. This original form of pressing grapes is always a major event. The winners will be those who have pressed the most juice out of the grapes at the end, so it is measured precisely in front of the assembled crowd of spectators.
Particularly for youngsters, the big moment is the traditional grape-throwing battle, which is great fun and fairly boisterous. Hundreds of kilos of fruit (not usable for winemaking) are energetically flung at each other by the participants.
Art, concerts and cinema in the cultural centre
Things are a bit calmer in the cultural centre Casal de Cultura Can Gelabert. This is one of the most imposing buildings in the town and, as a stately home, its history goes back at least 500 years. Standing testament to this is a gothic arch, which has survived all of the reconstruction work over the centuries. In various exhibitions there, you can go and see works by local and international painters and sculptors. The building also houses the music school and the public library. Different rooms provide space for theatre performances and cinema shows, as well as concerts.
Straight from a storybook: Biniagual
Time has stood still in the storybook hamlet of Biniagual, just about 3.5 kilometres from Binissalem – or it might as well have. Right in the middle of the Binissalem wine-growing district, this estate dates back to the era when the Moors ruled Majorca. It contains 14 houses, a small church and the Bodega Biniagual winery. The estate was purchased by some Germans in the 1960s and it’s thanks to them that the hamlet still exists in its original state. At the time, it was visibly crumbling and lay almost in ruins. The new owners restored it and returned the hamlet to its earlier function by dedicating themselves to wine-growing. Today, there are 34 hectares of vines, from which the Bodega Biniagual produces its renowned wine. Following in the footsteps of the owners there in Biniagual, you too could have a property and create your own little paradise on Majorca.