Located on the hills of the northwestern part that flank the town and surrounded by farmland are the Villafáfila wineries.

There are two areas facing, a short distance from the town, two deep scars in the land through which the paths of Santovenia run. The landscape shows us the Bodegas Bajas or the Bodegas de Abajo, as we call them to distinguish them from the other area that goes back to this on the way La Barca naming them as Bodegas Altas or Bodegas de Arriba, in considerable number.

They are located on the plot concentration map of Villafáfila:

Bodegas Bajas or Las de Abajo in polygon 3, plot 5233, on both sides of the Santovenia road.

Bodegas Altas or Las de Arriba in polygon 3, plot 5334 to the left of the road, plot 5335 to the right, from the Barca road.

Map of plot concentration of Villafáfila, polygon 3


Low and High Cellars area aerial view


The Bodegas Bajas are currently approx. 550 m from the town center and from the nearest house, they are located on both sides of the Santovenia road, which divides them in two.

Latitude: 41°51'07.1"N

Longitude: 5°37'31.1"W

Left side:

Chained length of warehouses approx. 377m

perimeter approx. 787 m.

surface approx. 7664 m 2 .

Surrounded by farms number 267, 268, 270 and 271.

Right side:

Chained length of warehouses approx. of 228 m.

perimeter approx. 592m

surface approx. 5784 m 2 .

Surrounded by farms 257, 261 and 262.

Low cellars area, Santovenia road, left and right side aerial view



The Bodegas Altas are approx. 728 m from the town center and the nearest house, divided into two parts by the La Barca path.

Left side:

Chained length of warehouses approx. 118m

surface approx. 4816 m 2 .

perimeter approx. of 347 m.

Surrounded by farms 260 and 264.

Right side:

Chained length of warehouses approx. of 154 m, which is introduced towards the interior the longest width is approx. 132 m, and consists of several streets.

surface approx. 1.30 ha.

perimeter approx. of 554 m.

Surrounded by farms 231, 232 and 234.

Bodegas Altas area, Camino la Barca, left and right side, aerial view



Its zarceras welcome you on days of heat wave or winter wind. The song of the larks, cucuyatas and other variety of birds, gives the place the magic that I have not forgotten since my childhood.

Bodegas Altas across the path la Barca

What seasoned hunter or seasoned shepherd has not accounted for his food during the time off, in his shelter or shade, with his gaze lost in the horizon, like a cadril, until the lunch box is empty and the wine bottle is crushed? At night they appear phantasmagorical, when you approach silence and peace calms you. Sometimes broken by the hoot of the owl or the owl without breaking the magic. When you turn the key, the creak of the hinges of the old and heavy door invites you to lower the slope of the canyon, your whole being awakens the senses, the change in temperature and the aroma of the cellar announces that, in the depth , his belly guards the most precious gift of Bacchus, the morapium. Silence and almost absolute darkness, the pupils dilate and you begin to have an idea of ​​the magnitude. Again curiosity and impatience are reflected in those who are not used to this experience. The jug, let's try this year's! The hemp of the faucet growls, from the navel of the vat the jet gushes out, forming a foam ring in Talavera's. The backlights of the lamp give way to a click of the tongue. The essence of the strain returns to the palate.


Taking advantage of clay soils , excavation with the tools of the time was less painful.

The beginning does not have a defined norm. According to the master's criteria, it could be started by the cannon or by the different zarceras, depending on the workforce available. Its completion was long since they took advantage of the downtime of the different times of the year when the tasks of the field finished or the weather did not allow work on it.

The raison d'être of the winery is its favorable condition for wine conservation, due to the constant temperature, 14-15 degrees , which is maintained throughout the year with slight fluctuations, resulting dry in winter and cool in summer .


      In the traditional system of cellar construction, first a vertical cut is made in the hillside to teso, which will then allow the construction of the entrance excavating horizontally. Then, advancing from top to bottom , the first zarcera or ventilation hole is excavated, advancing from there horizontally, until completing the floor of the cellar, gradually opening the remaining aeration zarceras in a variable number depending on the extension of that one. .


cellar entrance


Interior (floor) of a warehouse

interior of the cellar

Zarcera view from inside the winery


They were made with pick and shovel, removing the earth in baskets and pots with the help of a rudimentary wooden lathe that later gave way to the double pulley. The secret of the construction lies in the ease of working the clay at the beginning, contrasting with the hardness that it acquires on contact with the air.

The extracted earth was poured on the same cellar on the outside for protection, so that by forming a trestle it made the rainwater drain, avoiding leaks. Sometimes grass "pellas" or "grasses" were added on top to facilitate this operation. Following the text and as an anecdote, the mole of León did not manage to tear down the cathedral, it is obvious that I do not intend to compare the magnitude of the work, in a winery the mole plant is its Achilles heel. If the leak is not stopped in time, the problems are served.

Exterior of the cellar with its covered brambles

exterior of the warehouse

Elevation of a warehouse

Sketch of a winery


The underground cellars consist of a vestibule "house" in which the entrance door opens . Next, comes the vaulted and narrow “cannon” part that descends towards the main room of the cellar, with niches on both sides, "sisas" , for the placement of the vats and at the bottom with the "lagar" adjoining the "pilo". ”.

The main room is usually irregular in shape and is about 10 meters deep. The cellar is simply excavated in the clay, in the form of slightly pointed vaults, without any additional reinforcement. The floor is usually made of trodden earth except in the area of ​​the wine press, which is tiled.

Shed of a warehouse

Newly restored shed

Entrance, vaulted barrel

canyon with its stairs

Sisa, with coba of wine



The number of "zarceras" or aeration chimneys define the importance of the cellars.  

One of them, the largest, is located over the winepress, and during the harvest, the grapes that are collected in wicker baskets called “talegas” are placed there. The zarceras are made of "adobe" (mud and straw) and have a pyramidal trunk section that widens as it goes deeper.

The winery is located at the back of the cellar, its floor is covered with tiles or stone barges and has a large square shape, being separated from the rest of the cellar by a retaining wall, which forms the deposit. The press communicates through a "gutter" with the "pilo" or "lagareta", where the must falls.




separation wall



Plant of a winery

Sketch of a winery


Natural ventilation in summer (left) and in winter (right) in an underground cellar with zarcera


      The classic system of crushing the grapes through the traditional treading while enjoying the ritual has given way to the use of modern means that distort this task. Once this is finished, manual pressing is undertaken, consisting mainly of the "beam", attached at one end to vertical beams called "pernías" or "guiaderos", and at the other end, by means of a turned coupling with the thread pitch , the "spindle", fixed to a large cylindrical stone called "I think", by means of an ingenious system of wedges. Once the grapes are trodden, they are arranged in a circular shape on a promontory on which the "commitment" is placed, a circular wooden platform, to undertake the final crushing. Next, a network of plugs is formed on the commitment to the name "castle". We begin to retouch the beam that rests on the castle by means of the "boys" at the opposite end of the feed. The beam (some up to 15 meters, taking advantage of large poplars) already has enough inclination and by turning the spindle, but not before giving it a pat of tallow as greasing (turned in black wood) we will take off the feed from the ground at a height prudential, so that it slowly exerts its colossal force as a counterweight during the necessary days.

Beam, spindle part

Biga front part with its spindle

beam, middle part

biga middle part

Beam, end part

Biga final part

        It is obvious that the supervision of the slaughter requires the obligatory visits to the cellar to fill and raise the feed as the beam loses pressure. Collect a jug of must to make the "mostasí" and enjoy the gathering with the neighbors, recounting the anecdotes of what happened in the harvest, in which the "lagaradas" were never lacking.

spindle press

Model of a biga

parts of a vat

Utensils and parts of a Cuba

As the pilo empties, the avid vats on their “pohinos”, receive the must, starting the alcoholic fermentation inside, but not without first adding the “mother”. Order and neatness are returned to the warehouse, with cleaning. We turn the key and silence returns, her belly is not welcoming. The "stink" of fermentation can give us an upset.

After a week, having gone down twice to the middle of the barrel and the lamp turned off, the last one, its tremulous light, assures us that the “stuff” is not dangerous, there is oxygen, a sign that the fermentation has finished.

The end is near, with the "transfer" to the vats that will offer their lap so that mother nature finishes her mission, we have finished with effort and tenacity a being with its own life, the WINE.

vat of wine

vat for wine

Jug and cup of a cellar

wine jug

wooden spigot


The second part is more complex. Your consumption and enjoyment. Bearing in mind that great civilizations: Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Cistercian monks, our grandparents and to this day, there were those who usefully dedicated part of their lives to cultivation and enjoyed this gift, others uselessly ruined it trying to resolve their frustrations with he. Let's be among the first


At the end of September the harvest began, the grapes were collected and later transformed into wine in the cellars. Some of these were carefully chosen to be hung, in clusters, from the beams of bread baskets and pantries, for consumption at Christmas.

It was done between songs that made reference to local and current events, preferably to the departure and return of the day.

Lagarada was the culminating moment of the harvest: a beautiful bunch of grapes was rubbed on the face, sometimes also on the insides, of the chosen one, poor that young man who fell into the hands of a gang of grape harvesters! His secrets were public.

Today the harvest has totally disappeared, like all the hawthorns that existed in the town, after the arrival of the concentration in the early 1970s, after loss, the use of the cellars too, passing to a great abandonment, today the use that is given is for the realization of snacks between friends.

Grape harvesters in the car

Harvesters going in a cart



group of grape harvesters

Harvest Group


With the realization of the Parcelaria Concentration, in the early 1970s, all the hawthorns were uprooted, leaving some residual, with this the activity of making wine was lost, which led to the general abandonment of the wineries, and a part of them to its disappearance, or to a large extent its deterioration, a part was always kept by its owners.

Another problem that arose around the abandonment, as there was less influx around the warehouses, was the looting and theft that individuals took advantage of to steal materials such as vats, or spindles, even causing considerable damage to them, enlarging their disappearance.

In the last two decades, a new use has resurfaced around the winery, where the hut that has been transformed into a place for a picnic area with the location of a fireplace for cooking on the grill, this fact has meant recovering part of the of those wineries that were in good condition even with a certain degree of deterioration, which has led to maintaining a good number of them in a good state of conservation.

Newly arranged cellar house with its chimney




Jose Luis Dominguez Martinez.




Ruiz Mazarron, Fernando; Cid Falceto, Jaime; Cañas Guerrero, Ignacio “Use of traditional and modern underground cellars dug into the ground for wine aging”. In: Construction with earth. Technology and Architecture. Earth architecture conferences in Cuenca de Campos 2010/2011. [on-line]. Valladolid: Juan de Villanueva Chair. University of Valladolid. 2011. P.29-32. Available on the internet:


Photographs and maps:

Ruiz Mazarron, Fernando; Cid Falceto, Jaime; Cañas Guerrero, Ignacio “Use of traditional and modern underground cellars dug into the ground for wine aging”. In: Construction with earth. Technology and Architecture. Earth architecture conferences in Cuenca de Campos 2010/2011.

Javier Fernandez Fernandez.

Maps of Plot Concentration, Agriculture and Livestock of JCyL, of Villafáfila:

Jose Luis Dominguez Martinez.




Transcription and montage:

Jose Luis Dominguez Martinez.


All text, photographs, transcription and montage, the rights belong to their authors, any type of use is prohibited without authorization.


All text and photography has been authorized for storage, treatment, work, transcription and assembly to José Luis Domínguez Martínez, its dissemination on, and any other means that is authorized.