Bell Cros is a vineyard. But it is just as much an idea, a thought and a desire to spread happiness and put DO Montsant on the map. Here are the people who are making this possible.
Ann & Peter Skoglund – entrepreneurs / enthusiasts
We really hadn’t planned on getting ourselves a vineyard. Wine was certainly one of our
pleasures in life, but we were no experts. And we had just sold our business back home in Sweden and were intending to enjoy our new-found free time and not embark on any new projects. But shortly after buying an apartment in Barcelona we began discovering the Catalan countryside and wines. The first wines we encountered were from the world-famous DOQ Priorat district, and then the wines from nearby DO Montsant. And it was here we stumbled across a vineyard that was for sale…
Being the incurable enthusiasts that we are, it was impossible for us to resist the challenge. The vineyard in the beautiful valley below the Montsant mountains became ours. We knew that we had a lot to learn and we sought knowledge. However we never imagined we would receive such keen support from people locally. They generously shared their experience and knowledge with us, considerately giving us advice to help us newcomers avoid pitfalls. We were welcomed with open arms. As our project grew, an idea became rooted in our minds that we should put together a locally-based team that could make wine which would draw greater attention to DO Montsant.
Joan Asens – winemaker / genius
It is no exaggeration to call Joan Asens a top international winemaker. His name is well-
known in Catalonia and he is frequently honoured with the epithet of “crac” which roughly translates as genius. Joan is one of the people behind the huge international success of the neighbouring district of DOQ Priorat. As chief oenologist at one of the famous wineries, he played a key role in developing top-quality wines that sell for around EUR 1,000 per bottle.
It is naturally a great honour that Joan Asens has agreed to take on the role of winemaker for Bell Cros. His roots are here and he divides his time between his own vineyard Orto Vins and Bell Cros. Being able to present wines bearing the signature of Joan Asens is a privilege that very few enjoy.
Baltasar Vendrell – winegrower / philosopher
According to the winemaker Joan Asens, the wine starts on the vine. This year’s harvest marks the start of next year’s wine. It is essential to carefully monitor the entire process to ensure perfect results. With the bar set this high, you need a person with confidence and proven ability, someone like Baltasar Vendrell. Baltasar is responsible for managing the vineyards and he spends a lot of time with Joan.
Baltasar ensures that daily operations are running as they should and he is also responsible for the harvest. Or harvests, to be more accurate. DO Montsant is divided into six zones according to the soil structure and weather conditions. Bell Cros is located inside one of these zones, which Joan Asens has further divided into 20 zones. The grapes ripen at different times in these zones and Baltasar is responsible for keeping track of these times. But he takes it all in his cheerful stride.
Xavi Peñas – organiser / rock
In some ways, Xavi Peñas is the person who brought us to DO Montsant. He is the real estate agent who got the first deal across the line, and then the second, and the third, and the fourth… So Xavi has always been part of the Bell Cros team. He is the organiser, the uniting force that deals with the administration of Bell Cros’ operations. Not only is he a real estate agent and financial specialist, Xavi also has a vineyard of his own, Cellers Sant Rafel.
Xavi is a passionate advocate of rural living and encourages other to do as he has done and leave Barcelona and other cities to return home to his roots.
Miguel Figini – mentor / professor
The first thing we decided to do after buying our vineyard was to acquire some knowledge. Which is exactly what we got at “L’Espai del Vi Català” and from the school’s enthusiastic principal Miguel Figini. This regional school focuses exclusively on Catalan wines and their production. Theory is interwoven with practical learning and the school welcomes budding oenologists, winemakers and those taking over their parents’ vineyards.
After we had graduated, we stayed in touch with Miguel who has brought groups of students from his school to Bell Cros as part of their studies. Miguel is an important member of our team with his extensive network of contacts, and as a source of knowledge and champion of Catalan wines.