Founded in the 1950s by chemical analyst Francisco Gracia Naranjo, Gracia Hermanos is part of the Pérez Barquero group. Gracia Naranjo sought to capitalise on the splendour of Montilla-Moriles in those years and expanded rapidly with the purchase of vineyards and wines, turning the business into a limited company. Particularly significant was the purchase of the assets of Bodegas Baena Panadero in 1964, which included one of the company's signature brands: María Del Valle. Named after the owner’s daughter, it was relaunched in the 1970s as “Solera Fina”.
When Gracia Naranjo died prematurely in 1974, Rafael Córdoba García took over the management. As a result, he got to know the business in depth and, together with expert Pepe Jiménez, who was renowned for his privileged nose, decided to extend the María del Valle solera with old wines selected from growers and wine merchants in the Moriles Altos area. Eventually, Córdoba became the president of the Pérez Barquero group.
At present, the Pérez Barquero group also includes two more wine companies: Tomás García and Compañía Vinícola del Sur. All vineyards are jointly managed. The group owns 140 hectares in the two main quality areas of Montilla-Moriles -Sierra de Montilla and Moriles Altos- plus 70 hectares in Santaella, near Aguilar de la Frontera. An extra 400 hectares from purveyors are also processed, but the house’s leading brands are all sourced from their own fruit.
The current location of Gracia Hermanos, next to the train station, dates from the early 1970s. It has its own winemaking facilities with stainless steel tanks, some 5,000 old American oak butts and 100 large casks each containing 1,500 litres. Production amounts to around 1.5 million bottles annually. In commercial terms, Gracia Hermanos is independent from Pérez Barquero and has its own distribution network. 75% of sales are concentrated in the domestic market whilst the rest is exported, also with its own importers.
Gracia’s most popular wines are Viñaverde (around €5 in Spain), a brand first released in the 1983 vintage that pioneered young, fruit-driven whites in Andalucía, and Fino Corredera, arguably Spain’s best selling Fino, widely available in supermarkets.
Those searching for top-quality traditional wines should try the flagship Solera Fina María del Valle (€10.50 the 75 cl. bottle), a Fino which started with eight years of ageing but is now close to 10 years. There is a limited “En Rama” (unfiltered) edition (€12.50 the 37.5 cl. bottle, 600 bottles) and magnums have been released recently. Many experts say that this fino has the powerful style and cellaring potential that distinguishes the Moriles Altos area, but the fact is that it is topped up with wines from Moriles Altos and also Sierra de Montilla. The solera consists of 66 butts which are fed from six “criaderas”. All butts are old, made more than 50 years ago with "bull's head" staves -thicker than usual and particularly suitable for extended ageing.
Old fortified wines are grouped under the Tauromaquia brand, which has just changed its packaging to more understated labels and are now sold in 50 cl. bottles. Aged for more than 25 years, the Amontillado and Oloroso are labelled as "Viejísimo", while the sweet PX falls into the "Superior" category destined to wines made exclusively from dried Pedro Ximénez grape must and alcohol. These three wines cost around €23 in Spain.
In August 2021, Gracia Hermanos will released a unique edition of Montearruit Amontillado Viejísimo, a brand of which occasional sacas of 30-year-old wines were drawn until 25 years ago. Now it is the Bota Solera single cask that will be bottled. Aged for 75 years, there are 1,080 small bottles (37.5 cl.) for €250 each, a truly limited edition for collectors. The release marks the 100th anniversary of the siege of Monte Arruit, a tragic episode of the Rif War between Morocco and Spain in which Lieutenant José Gracia Benítez, the father of the bodega's founder, managed to survive. As a tribute, his son turned the battle’s name into a brand.
Like many other producers in Montilla-Moriles, Gracia Hermanos also makes brandy and vermouth. The winery is not open to visitors, but it does offer the possibility of holding events and celebrations.