Bodegas Murua reinforces its commitment to landscape and heritage with the restoration of a nineteenth-century vineyard hut

Jul 27, 2023 | Murua Wineries

Bodegas Murua is committed to the recovery of cultural heritage and has just finished work on the restoration of a nineteenth-century hut situated in the Vallobera plot, within the boundaries of the winery. The restoration work has returned the structure to its original state which had been altered by the roots of a tree situated at the top of the hut, causing several stones to fall from the front and was supervised by an archaeologist in accordance with the criteria set out by the department of Historical and Architectural Heritage of Álava.

This hut or ‘guardaviñas’ (vineyard guard post) is situated within the boundaries of the Monumental Ensemble of Wine Cultural Landscape and Vineyards of Rioja Alavesa (Álava). As well as this hut, Bodegas Murua has located another two similar constructions on the winery’s land in plots called ‘La Pared’ and ‘Cuatro Encinas’. “The aim of the renovation is to protect the architectural heritage and to offer wine tourists that visit us the opportunity to learn all about these small stone buildings and their history in detail”, says Mathieu Barrault, oenologist at Bodegas Murua.

The hut before the restoration
The hut after the restoration

The restoration work forms part of the the cultural and historical recovery tasks that Masaveu Bodegas has been carrying out on archaeological remains situated within the boundaries of their wineries, and that, for example, have also enabled the conservation in Bodegas Fillaboaof prehistoric petroglyphs (engravings) on rocks situated in the plot called ‘Finca Coto de Prado’. The ensemble is made up of seven groups which are in perfect condition.

The budget for the restoration was 6,200 euros, co-funded by Bodegas Murua and the Government of Álava.“This hut is semiburied. Due to a fracture in one of the stones that support the entrance, the front wall began to give way because of the rains. The tree, which grew up through the stones, helped the structure to keep standing despite the foundations being broken”, explains the archaeologist Unai Arruza.

A farmers shelter

The huts are small stone structures used by farmers for shelter when looking after and keeping watch on the crops. These structures are also known as ‘guardaviñas’ because they were used by the vineyard guard, who slept there to watch the herds and ensure that they didn’t damage the vines. They were also used as shelters, stores, etc. Although several types of these structures exist, the majority are very simple circular structures that taper towards the ceiling, and are built without any type of mortar, known as the dry-stone technique.

The importance of these structures goes far beyond their architectural or artistic value; these buildings are evidence of the vital role that winegrowing has played since immemorial times in Rioja Alavesa.

They are a very characteristic element of the landscape of this land, according to Historical and Architectural Heritage Funds of Álava, there are currently 880 registered and documented.There are hardly any huts in other areas of D.O Rioja. The majority of these structures are in this area in Rioja Alavesa, and the area of Sonsierra, the best testimony of ancestral vineyards”, says Barrault.

Masaveu Bodegas

The Masaveu family first invested in the wine sector in 1974, when they purchased Bodegas Murua, however the family’s first vineyards date back to the middle of the 19th century, in Castellar del Vallés, where the family originates from and where Federico Masaveu Rivell began a journey to be continued one century later by his descendants.

Since then, Masaveu Bodegas has grown to become a reference in the sector, due to the quality of their winemaking in several DO´s and their sustainable philosophy and utmost respect for the land in their estate owned vineyards, thanks to which they transmit the unique personality of each terroir in every bottle. This being the common denominator in each and every project initiated by Bodegas Masaveu in different parts of the country: Murua (DOCa. Rioja), Fillaboa (DO Rias Baixas), Leda (Wine from the Land of Castilla y León), Pagos de Aráiz (DO Navarra), and Valverán (Asturias).