The McLeods

The British have a long history of investing in vineyards around the world in order to feed their insatiable appetite for good wines. Some of the great Bordeaux Chateaux still cary the names of the original British owners, as do many of the great port houses.

Much of the British investment was due to the inability to grow vines fit to make great wines in their homeland. Climate change and relentless experimentation with varieties and styles has recently changed that picture, and England now makes world beating sparking wines in the Champagne tradition.

Andy and his wife Ali were introduced to wine early by their parents. Andy’s father was in the airports business and spent a lot of time in international travel, enjoying gourmet dinners served with great wines, and wanted his family to share the experience.  This grew into a shared love of wine, and Andy’s career postings in California and France allowed them to experience great winemaking up close. To feed his love of all things wine, Andy undertook a winemaking course from UC Davis, and the whole family embarked on obtaining various WSET qualifications.  When they moved to Meadowgrove in rural Oxfordshire in 2001, a 0.2ha patch of land was planted up to make English wine, one of many new vineyards planted as part of the “English Revolution”. At that scale though, the vineyard was not large enough for full commercial operation, so the locals have benefitted from a steady stream of free white wines. Making red wine in the UK was and is still a significant challenge, so to fullfil that part of the dream required a move south.

So when son Rob and his partner Elena discovered the beauty and great wine potential of Terra Alta, it was an easy decision to join with their parents and sister Isobel to invest in some vibrant vineyards dripping with ripe Mediterranean grapes. A couple of years later, having learnt more about how the local wine industry worked, the family decision was made to invest in a winery, and now the wines of Celler Alimara are starting to flow.

So basically this is another story of a British family coming south to make quality wines to take back and drink in the cold dank winters in the north. The good news though is that this time there enough of it to share with everyone!


Why the name “Celler Alimara”?

“Alimara” in catalan, means “beacon”. And here we are thinking of the fire beacons that were placed on the top of hills to rapidly pass signals between towns and populations. We thought that a beacon was a good example of how we wanted to be seen, signalling the growing quality and variety emerging from this fascinating land.

This idea has carried over into the naming of our wines. “Llumí” is the “match” that lights the fire and starts the flames rising. “El Senyal” is the “signal” which is sent out across the land carrying the message from the heart of Terra Alta.

Our logo features the iron basket that holds the signal fire, and our wine labels feature wrought iron depictions of flames, signals and sprites, playing on the rich tradition of ironworking in the local area.