Around 1927 Dolors and Pere set up their wine cellars in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, a village in the heart of the Penedès, opposite the main train station. This region was already famous for the quality of the wines produced there since the era of the Roman Empire. But when the couple starts their business the circumstances of the wine growing trade are adverse.
At the end of the 80s of the 19th century the phylloxera plague had reached the Penedès. Within a few years the vines were becoming less and less profitable and finally died. Some members of the Sala family had to abandon the company and look for other means of earning their daily bread, like the administration of properties and politics. For example, Joan Sala Tubella, Dolors’ father, is in office as mayor of Sant Sadurní for two terms.
Then at the beginning of the 20th century an important discovery is made: American trunks are immune to the plague, so by grafting European varieties on American trunks it is possible to renovate the vineyards.
Dolors, always full of innovating ideas, immediately snatches up this solution and begins to replace the red grape vines destroyed by the phylloxera plague and replant her vineyards with white indigenous grape varieties like macabeu, parellada and xarel·lo.
At the same time Dolors and Pere decide to switch the focus of the family business to sparkling wines and from then on exclusively produce cava; this turns out to be a smart move.
If you want to know more about cava, stay tuned as I will shortly post more details.