he winegrowers dug out cavities in rocks near to the vineyards to hold the grapes for treading and subsequent pressing. This provided the must which was then transferred in skins for further fermentation to homes to prepare the claret or to private wineries.
The rock presses usually consisted of a circular or square hollowed-out area, where the crushing and pressing was done, and a channel that led the must, cleaned of impurities, into another hollow. Some were of a considerable size, like the one in Pangua, which is the biggest found to date: it was 3 metres in diameter and had a capacity of almost 5 cubic metres, or 2,700kg of grapes (trailers currently used in harvesting typically have a capacity of 3,500kg).
Although the oldest text refers to their existence dating back to 959, it is believed most were constructed after the 14th century as they were generally located in stone cemeteries.
Nowadays, some have been restored, are marked on a map and can be visited; although there is much archaeological classification and study still to be done to evaluate this important legacy of the history of winemaking in our region.