The Albera cow lives in almost total freedom feeding mainly from the vegetation of the forests and meadows through which it roams. Its population is concentrated in the ‘Paraje Natural de Interés Nacional de la Albera’ (La Albera Protected Nature Park), in the northeast of the Alt Emporda. They have been a feature of the landscape for centuries and were cited in a document granting grazing rights to the monks of Vallbona, back in 1148.
The Albera is a strong, resilient, and agile race whose small stature enables it to get around on very rough terrain. This makes them useful for clearing forests and, consequently, for fire prevention.
As the race does not have a high beef value, it has been in sharp decline. The production of calves is very low, one calf every two years. There were only 400 specimens at the last census, which puts them in danger of extinction.
Gramona has been benefiting from their valuable contribution since 2012. A small herd has been responsible for clearing the woods surrounding our vineyards, bringing life and balance to our lands. Through its presence, we are attempting to achieve one of the three basic principles of biodynamics: to encourage the interrelationship of the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms.
With the fresh dung from the pregnant cows, we make preparation 500 and the Maria Thun, a preparation of feces which is left to mature in horns buried about 50 cm below the ground.
It is used for activating microorganisms in the soil. It stimulates the growth of the main roots and capillaries which help the absorption of minerals. It also helps humus formation in the soil. The preparation 500 is prepared and buried during the autumn equinox, left to mature for 6 months and then dug up after the spring equinox. It is applied directly to the soil throughout the vineyard. To do this, it is dissolved in water and energizes.
We have welcomed these cows onto our lands, where they have made themselves at home, as part of a recovery programme. Today the herd is made up of 12 +1 calf, all born at Gramona.
These survivors of La Albera, whose existence is under threat, have found a new ally in the wine world.