Things began to change once the Franco era came to an end. Despite the desolation of the Priorat, some people felt better staying with the land regardless of how hard life was. Most of the grapes were going to cooperatives, but a few growers were bottling their own wines and working hard to revive the name of the Priorat within the world of wine. These efforts captured the attention of René Barbier. He packed up his family, bought some land, enlisted friends and began the great renaissance of the Priorat.
No one is more humble about this than René. For him it was a hippie dream to live with friends, grow grapes and make wine — little did he know what his simple dream would become. His humility captured the trust of the locals, who watched what he and his friends were doing. They exchanged ideas, which evolved into the new Priorat: a new Old World wine region with a grand heritage, distinctive terroir and valiant old vines. Wines were made and they were tasted by critics with big voices, and everything changed.
An influx of movement back into the Priorat began. Some who had had to leave could return and bring their families back to the land. Others thought it sounded like a romantic frontier with the promise of gold, but their dreams did not fit the challenges of viticulture in the Priorat. The survivors adapted. Some growers began selling their grapes to the new cellars, others hired consultants to guide them in the realm of vinification and still others had children who studied for degrees in enology. In merely two decades the Priorat has experienced great change, proving that with fortitude and spirit everything is possible.
Ethos Priorat is vividly panoramic. It is best viewed in landscape format to fully enjoy the experience.