Hospital Sant Joan Baptista
History and war brought Malvasia to Spain and love sustains it. When the Ottoman Turks invaded Constantinople, a company of soldiers led by the Knight Templar Roger de Flor set out to defend the city. Among the “Catalan Company” was Jofres des Escales, a mercenary from Catalunya. On his return from the Greek city of Monemvasia, he brought back cuttings of grapevines which were planted in the low coastal region of Sitges. Here the vines thrived and came to be known as Malvasia de Sitges. It was at one point in history one of the most popular wines from Catalunya. However, the arrival of phylloxera and later the introduction of international grape varities diminished the amount of land under cultivation. But unfortunately it was the increasing demand for coastal land for development of resorts that caused many acres of these vines to be pulled.
By 1930s, Malvasia de Sitges was almost extinct. Only 3-4 acres of land remained under cultivation and it was owned by Manuel Llopis i de Casdes, a resident of Sitges. Just prior to his death, Manuel Llopis donated all of his land to the local foundation of Hospital San Joan Baptista de Sitges. The hospital is a non profit institution and serves the elderly including a geriatric nursing home.
This is a very small production wine with only 3-4 acres of vineyard left and where only 5000 bottles are made each vintage!
In 2006,The Slow Food Foundation awarded Malvasia de Sitges their Presidia Award recognizing it as a true rarity. This is the first and only grape to receive this recognition.
This was intended to protect high-quality and traditionally produced foods for future generations in the face of industrialized agriculture and big business.
All work in the fields and in the cellar are done by volunteers. Proceeds from the sale of the wines are used in part to run the hospital. Sierra Nevada Imports intends to continue to keep the link alive and donate part of the profits towards care of the elderly in Sitges and here. We urge you to help support this cause.