Origin of growing grapes in Madrid
The first reliable news of growing grapes in the present province of Madrid, is related to the Monasterio de San Martin de Valdeiglesias, which ruins remain in the municipality of Pelayos de la presa, 62 kms from Madrid and 5 kms from San Martín Valdeiglesias.
The origin of the Monastery of San Martín de Valdeiglesias in the XII century was the existence of 12 hermitages or chapels far apart in between. From the parish church of the village of San Martin to the Alberche river, occupying a wide valley, called “Valley Yglesias,” giving the name to the Monastery runned by the Order of St. Benedict and later, to the village of San Martin de Valdeiglesias.
King Alfonso VII knowledgeable about the sanctity of the hermitages, awarded in 1148, the expansion of the inheritance of land and surrounding property in perpetuity, sending monks of La Espina to Valdeiglesias, in order that for its residents to take the Cistercian habit. Fernando III “The Saint” further expanded the domains of the farm with community of Santa Cruz Alarza “For the monks had intended all possessions of the valley to growing grapes, and lacked land for other crops necessary for its survival “.
The assignment was later confirmed by the kings Alfonso X and Sancho IV.
The monks were the settlers of the valley and the founders of the town of San Martin, for the settlers and other servants of the Monastery to live in, “Creating a great wine wealth.” They learned the science of wine from its founders, the brothers of the Order from La Espina, who already dominated it at their place of origin.
Referring to King Fernando III “The Saint”, Father Manrique in his Annals Cisterciences says: “Among other things, I increase the wealth of the place and the House, and the fertility of the soil, very suitable for planting vines, from which I obtain generous wines, commonly called from San Martin and are the most prolific of all Europe, even if I said they come first of all, I would not err.”
Reference: TRATADO DE VITICULTURA GENERAL