José Miguel Márquez, one of the youngest and perhaps most experimental of our winemakers, has 6 hectares of vines in the Montilla region of Córdoba, famous almost exclusively for producing fino, amontillado and oloroso style wines, fermented under flor. José Miguel does make a flor wine, his spectacular Bajo Velo, though he breaks traditon in more ways than one and has an incredible array of other wines that display the richness of this region, including the indigenous Montepila grape.

The name Marenas comes from the words mar (sea) and arena (sand) due to the sandy clay soil of Montilla and the effect of the Atlantic breeze in this area despite its being over 2 hours drive away from the Atlantic coast. The wind from the Atlantic affects the climate here as well as being the driving force in what creates the layer of flor that floats on top of the fermenting fino style wines.

This is a sizzling hot, dry area, receiving over 3000 hours of sun a year, temperatures can reach up to 50 degrees in summer, meaning during harvest period his family wake up at 2am to begin the harvest and work through til 8am so the grapes don’t cook during picking. Despite this José Miguel dry farms and is a firm believer in not working the land, instead he leaves grass and herbs to grow between the vines, maintaining the health of the soil and encouraging the roots to dig deeper, becoming drought tolerant and more resilient.