Finca Portier is an ancient agricultural estate nestled in the Serrania de Ronda 2,500 feet above sea level.
The single parcel property spreads across rolling hills with a rich and stony soil, countless holm oak trees and rock mounds left by early humans.
Resting on the slope of a mountain cirque, Finca Portier is surrounded by majestic evergreen oaks sheltering a typical Andalusian farmhouse.
Much of the land was abandoned for many years. Then 800 Hojiblanca olive trees were planted in the 1960s followed by 900 Picual olive trees in the early 2000s. But developing Finca Portier wasn’t a concern, until now.
Since 2018, Finca Portier’s agricultural products have been certified organic according to European standards.
“The secret to happiness lies in looking at all the wonders of the world and never forgetting the two drops of oil in the spoon.”
Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
A little history…
Finca Portier is a well-known name in Ronda. It’s famous for its locale, the surrounding cirque and the eroding stone monuments of the ancient peoples who worked here. The estate faces Ronda and is the dominant feature of the Rio Guadiaro Valley.
The picturesque town of Ronda was settled by Celts, Romans, Visigoths, and Muslims. It became part of the royal domain of Castile and Aragon after being captured by Ferdinand II in 1485.
Bordered by a dizzying ravine, Ronda is the showcase of Andalusia with charming, white walk-streets decked with flowers and Spain’s most elegant 18th Century arenas.
Finca Portier belonged to an old Andalusian family before being sold in the early 1970s.
After professional lives in industry and services, we wanted to invest in something for future generations. In our search we fell in love with the unique magic of Finca Portier. So we set our hearts on turning it into a home of excellence in organic farming.
In 2015 we launched an extensive rehabilitation project, upgrading the fields and renovating the farmhouse with the help of local experts.
Production of high-quality, organic oils is Finca Portier main development axis.
- Revitalization of existing 1,700 olive trees and plantation of 500 new trees,
- Plantation of almond Soleta trees, a variety from Aragon (600 trees),
- Plantation of 750 walnut trees, mainly Chandler and Fernor varieties from Corrèze.
We also planted a vineyard in an area with perfect conditions (5 hectares). We planted old and native grape varieties, Garnacha Tintorera, Garnacha Tinta, Tintilla de Rota and Tinto Velasco guided by a professional oenologist from Ronda.
The holm oaks, an incredible wealth of Finca Portier, more than 30 exceed 200 years of age. Some are even 300 years old. The oldest and majestic of them, his majesty “El Emperador” more than 800 years old (according to the forest manager of Ronda) unfortunately tore apart in the summer of 2021 with a terrible noise. Its antlers were impressive and a feeling of smallness hugged you when you were under it.
These oaks have all different shapes and trunks, one of them even has two trunks as if they were twins.
A wealth that we maintain as best as possible. Some were covered with brambles, once cut their development resumed, just incredible.
Finca Portier has about 90 acres suitable for farming. We have a 12-acre vineyard, 27 acres of olive trees and the rest is covered with almond and walnut trees.
From the start, our mission has been to reclaim the estate’s agricultural legacy. Its renaissance is built on the modern principles of respect for nature, organic farming, natural fertilizing and self-sufficient watering.
Since 5 October 2017, Finca Portier’s agricultural products have been certified organic according to European standards: regulations CE 834/2007 y CE 889/2008. Its certificate of conformity is N° 23135 (CAAE). And Finca Portier is now a registered brand in Europe.
Olive picking, tree trimming and brush clearing are done manually.
The olives are “first cold-pressed” in a certified organic mill. Bottling is also done by a certified organic company.
Registered lab analysis of the oils from Finca Portier show them to be Extra Virgin.
Right now the sheep that live on the estate are maintaining the woods and the field of old olive trees.
Organic farming presents many surprises.
For two years, our olive harvests suffered from the Mediterranean fruit fly and fungi. In 2018, the olives had an insufficient development due to frequent and heavy rains throughout the year. No oil was marketed. In 2019, the Picual olives were attacked by the Mediterranean fruit fly and rotted hence no production of Picual oil. Fortunately, the years 2020 and 2021 were excellent with more than 30,000 kg of olives in 2021. In 2022, the harvest was very low compared to the two previous years. Two reasons for this, a great drought during the winter and a heat wave at the time of flowering which killed the very fragile flowers of these trees.
Since 2019, the almond trees have been producing and the quantities have increased steadily: 2,000kg in 2019, 3,500kg in 2020 (i.e. almonds with their shells). However, 2021 was a bad year: most of the trees were attacked by the “pulgon verde”, an insect that is difficult to destroy in ecological agriculture. In 2022, the harvest was good, just under 3 tons, although the fruits were smaller than in other years due to lack of water and intense heat. Our almonds are brought to a cooperative with an ecological sector.
The walnut trees are beginning to produce, more than 100kg in 2020 when one in two nuts had been removed to promote the development of the tree and its fruits. Production is growing steadily and 640kg was reached in 2022. Today, we market these nuts locally.
Our challenge today is to succeed in reviving our vineyard. In 2017, we entered into an agreement with a local bodega to manage and operate it. This agreement turned out to be catastrophic, poorly designed irrigation letting the young vines die, lack of maintenance… We broke this contract in February 2022 and a new winegrower took over management. Three years will be needed for an upgrade, but the results are already there and the vineyard has changed in appearance.
However, only oils from the estate are and will be marketed by Finca Portier.