In 2006, Famalco Group took to opportunity to open up a new venture and purchase 29.7 tumoli of land at Ta’ Brettel, in the limits of Rabat which were planted with a variety of red and white vines.
In the early days, the soil of Fra Brettel was in need of repairing, loamy typed and possessing a high content of clay, its depth varied from 40 cm in its shallowest points to 160 cm in its deepest points. In order to remedy the soil depth to permit proper root development of the vines, Famalco Group ensured the land was ripped to a depth of a meter and tilled to improve the overall soil texture.
The vine varieties which were subsequently planted were the white varieties Vermentino, Viogner, Moscato bianco and Albariño and the red varieties Syrah, Mourvedre, Graciano, Grenache and Negroamaro. The vines were grafted onto a rootstock that is tolerant to drought conditions and lime-based soils, the Paulsen 1103. All the vines are trained vertically and are either cane pruned, or spur pruned, depending on the different requirements of the vine varieties.
Over the years, Fra Brettel adopted a vineyard management policy that permits the production of wine grapes of an excellent quality while respecting the biodiversity of the area. This is still being achieved by the implementation of good agricultural practices and minimum intervention with phytosanitary products, which are only utilised for targeted control of disease, when the quality of the wine grapes may be compromised.
The 2018 harvest was the tenth harvest carried out at Fra Brettel under the carefully supervision of our Vineyard coordinator Joseph Camilleri as around 38 tonnes of grapes were harvested. These were conferred to a local winery for the production of DOK and IGT wines. Weather permitting, the annual harvest begins in the third week of August with the Moscato bianco and Viogner and concludes in the first week of November, the last varieties to be harvested being the Mourvedre and Graciano.
Careful monitoring of the behaviour of the different vine varieties at Fra Brettel and their maturation has led to the observation that certain vine varieties are less suited to the soil and climatic conditions of the area, exhibiting a delaying and non-homogenous maturation of the grapes. The resulting grapes have also been observed to lack the characteristics that are desired to produce quality wines at Fra Brettel. As a result, undesirable vine varieties have been re-grafted with more suitable varieties for the geographical area. The re-grafting project on the Moscato bianco, Vermentino and Viognier began in January 2014 and the actual grafting was carried out in April-May 2014. The buds from these three excellent white grape varieties were grafted using a technique known as T-bud onto existing vines of Negroamaro, Grenache and Mourvedre. A total area of five tumoli have been re-grafted with a high successful survival rate.
In the very near future, Fra Brettel Estates shall be a boutique winery. Fra Brettel will be a winery that specialises in the production of limited quantities of wines that serve a niche market. In a boutique winery, the winemaker produces wines from different wine grape varieties, respecting the entire production process: from the cultivation of the grapes in the vineyards, to the grapes’ fermentation, blending and ageing and final bottling. The grapes are not only produced in the winery estate itself but also purchased from nearby vine growers.
The winery itself shall reflect a typical Maltese farmhouse, with wooden shuttered windows and a typical Maltese stone balcony. The building materials shall be carefully selected such that the external winery appearance shall be aesthetically pleasing, while ensuring that it blends in with the typical Maltese country landscape.
Fra Brettel Estates looks forward to welcoming you, whilst enjoying superior quality Maltese wines in a typical winery environment.
For more information about Fra Brettel Estates, contact us on (+356) 2339 2336/9. Fra Brettel Estates is and investment by Fulani Properties, the Property Development Business Unit within Famalco | Building Businesses.