Yaiza Socorro - Photographer

Bodegas FRP: Cider is born on earth

Miguel Rodríguez, María Belén Rodríguez, Bodegas Familia Rodríguez Pérez, Valleseco, interview conducted by @loretosocorro

When the apple harvest was almost finished, we went to the facilities of the new and definitive Rodríguez Pérez family winery. Near the entrance is a wide cave, cool and dark.

Why this place to settle the winery?

"What attracted me to this site were the caves. I already had in mind what I wanted to buy and I searched until I came and saw this. With patience and also investing my savings I have been asking for permits and doing little by little. "

What was that you had in mind?

"A place where, in addition, you can make cider and wine tastings since I also make wines. The caves interested me because I want to dedicate a part of them to grow mushrooms, taking advantage of the humidity and temperature. Mushrooms are ideal to accompany tastings. I already planted them once and they were wonderful. "


María Belén is a young and eager woman who makes a team with her father.

"I studied Spanish and Chinese philology but, a little at the insistence of my father, and because I grew up immersed in the world of wineries, I did a master's degree in oenology and decided to specialize. "

What do you like the most, Belén?

"The elaboration. The one that you get the product, the apple in this case, and begin to squeeze it to make pie de cuba, which is the previous preparation that allows fermentation, the alcohol that you are going to add to the cider. "

Miguel Rodríguez has dedicated himself to wineries with curiosity and passion. Traveling for almost thirty years in Spain and the rest of the world. Why try apple, cider?

"About twelve or thirteen years ago an engineer came who gave some courses and it seemed interesting to me because he had already bought the farm, but I did not want to dedicate myself to potatoes or beans ... So I decided to plant the apple and that is how I began to make cider. At the beginning it was about three hundred liters and now we are going for twelve thousand liters. "

What kind of apple do you use for cider?

"Gray pippin apple and white pippin. "

Which is better?

"There is no difference, just the color. Heartburn and everything else is pretty much the same. "


Why is the Valleseco apple so good for cider?

"Because of the micro climate. Where more apple trees are planted throughout the island is here, in Valleseco. This is an ideal area, due to the number of hours of sunshine it has per year and because when mid-afternoon arrives, the mist begins to rise above the ravine. All this remains submerged in fog. Then, at dawn, the cloud begins to descend again, so it makes another one watered by the apple trees. The mist refreshes and waters. "

Tell us about your participation in contests

"To enter a contest you have to do your research. I did tastings with somelliers, coupage - cider mixes-, monitoring of fermentations and much more. Until the product is 100% it is laborious and complicated. I've been there for twelve years and I showed up last year for the first time. "

Is cider born here?

"It is not born here. It is born on earth. If the fruit trees are not taken care of, if you do not pamper them, what you are going to have is something of poor quality. A good apple is what makes you have a good cider. "

Natural or sparkling cider?

"We do everything although now we are working with sparkling wines because natural cider still does not have many followers. There is not much natural cider culture. Sparkling wines are an easier market to open. I have many projects in mind but step by step ... "

What other things can you offer us in advance?

"This is a world that has no limits ... non-alcoholic cider, ice sider, which is a cider that is made frozen and the terrace with grill comes first. "

Is that where you will do the tasting with the mushrooms that you are going to plant?

The local outside, attached to the winery, will have a terrace for plastering and, apart from mushrooms, I want to add our experience in restoration (Las Brasas Restaurant).


Have you had the opportunity to teach this process to students?

"We were going to do a workshop at the Hotel Escuela de Santa Brígida, so that those who are preparing would know how cider was made, but with the pandemic they stopped. "

Where are your ciders found?

"For many restaurants and some gourmet shops on the island. "

How is the procedure to get to the sparkling cider?

"The natural cider is fermented in a tank but the sparkling is fermented inside the bottle and undergoes double fermentation. "

As for the times, how long does it take to have a sparkling wine?

"The organic cider takes 6 to 8 months of fermentation. From there they start to make the brut, the sparkling wine, which is more than two years old. And it is made horizontally, because the "garbage" must be removed. It is necessary to turn the bottles every day, to remove those lees and when they are at the bottom, we freeze the bottles at -30ºC in ten minutes. The cider stays clean because it comes out at 4 atmospheres of pressure and without impurities. Then it is filled with expedition liquor, which is a liquor that we prepare, depending on the type of cider we want to make. "

Tell us about "Niebla Marina", why that name?

"Our product It is called “Niebla”, but this is a cider that is kept for four months under the sea, in the “Bodegas Submarinas del Médano” (Tenerife). All the bottles arrive full of snails, limpets, marine life and for that reason, we cover them with the paper. When you remove the packaging it is a surprise and each bottle is different. "

Why put them under the sea?

"Cider, like wine, is a living being and evolves, is transformed and is affected by external conditions. Down there the temperature and pressure are constant. You also have the sway of the sea. The movement that interferes and improves it. "


"Niebla Marina ”has been awarded as the best cider in the world

"He received the Gold Medal for the best world cider at the Vitoria Gasteiz International Contest. The other two have also behaved and brought me more medals, one of gold and the other of bronze. Awards motivate, they make you want to continue. The winery will continue to participate in more contests but, both me and my wife, what we want is to leave something good for our children to continue. "

Bodegas FRP enters competitions for the first time and wins medals on the fly ...

"The winning ciders were three. The objective was to obtain recognition and it is a reward for years and years of work. When they told me, I felt happier than if they had given me the highest grade in a career exam. I am not a winemaker but I do research, I am interested, I have a passion for this ... "

We enter the winery's matrix and the pleasant aroma of apples kisses us.

"Cider apples should not be oversized. I have picked apples weighing more than half a kilo, but the ideal size is smaller, so I don't have to split it and be able to grind it whole. "

During the season, how many kilos can be shredded?

"I have come to crush up to eighteen thousand kilos of apples. This season was bad, due to changes in the weather, due to the fruit fly infestation. Before there were no fruit flies, this is four years ago. "

How do you fight pests?

"Being organic farming, it costs more to eradicate it. We use vinegar with saffron because they are attracted to the yellow / red color of the fruit in bottles. The Cabildo is collaborating and we are working on eradication with pheromones. I think they will make us flycatchers of this type. "

Do you feel supported by the institutions?

"The Cabildo seems interested, we have always been supported, but now more, with logistics that distributes the products of farmers and, from the City Council, because they gave us permission to be able to make the winery in this protected area. We present a project according to where it is so that everything is in harmony with the environment and that it respects it. Most of the rabiche pigeons are concentrated in this area. "


How is the relationship with the other cider wineries on the island?

"There are many synergies. We are only two individuals and the City Council, the three from Valleseco. We meet, we talk. The idea is that people see the work that this has done that has been done with work and putting the savings with a view to the future. "

The modern machinery for making cider coexists with a wooden press ...

"This wood is a press that works with water, creates 3 to 4 atmospheres of pressure. I did it like this, I adapted it, I put even wheels on it… The new ones already make three hundred and fifty kilos and it makes the job easier because it is pressed several times. "

There is a current of air that invites us to walk until we reach another cave where the place will be.

What is the next step?

"Finish moving the entire Firgas winery here. That the farm is self-sufficient. The infrastructure is what I have to finish to dedicate time only to the cider. What I want is a point of sale in Firgas but the wineries here and, on the weekend, the tastings with enyesques and visits. "

The landscape that surrounds the farm is endless cliffs that, along with the caves, continue to accompany Miguel and María Belén, while they take care of the apple trees and make cider.

"Those cliffs are waterfalls sleeping. When it rains, from where we are, a unique spectacle is contemplated. You sit and watch the waterfalls and the mist rushing up there. It's that it gives you chills "

In love with the landscape, the climate and the Valleseco cider, we left this prize winery, which has put the name of Valleseco and Gran Canaria at the top, hoping to be able to return to delight ourselves with sparkling or natural cider, among that sea of ​​mist and the good company of the Rodríguez Pérez family.

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September 2023

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