Our first full day on the ground in Montilla was full of insight into the traditions of coopers, starting at the best-voted cooperage of 2023 and 2024. Rolling to the Toneleria Del Sur, we witnessed the strenuous barrel-making process throughout the cooperage. Left and right, the coopers hammered metal hoops, bent wooden staves, and toasted the barrels perfectly. After capturing footage of their duties, we got to interview 3 coopers, where we talked about tradition, family values, and their experiences in the profession. 

Our second stop, Bodegas Alvear, is the oldest winery in the Andalusia region and a magnificent display of what the Spanish word, bodega, means. A bodega is a wine cellar or storehouse, and Alvear had hundreds of barrels aging in a dark, climate-controlled cooperage. A winemaker showed us the flor, a veil of yeast that covers the surface of their signature Pedro Xímenez wines, preventing oxidation and aiding their robust and authentic flavor.

The warehouse was just a few minutes from our (temporary) production room and nest at the Don Ramiro hotel. The crew enjoyed a lunch of a Spanish omelet on fresh bread with fruit and discussed our next moves. 

On our third excursion to Casknolia, we interviewed Rafael Cabello Jr., the official best cooper of the world in 2024. He spoke heavily about his family’s influence on his business; his father, wife, and daughters motivating him to continue the craft. 

La Union Cooperative took us back in time to learn about the origins of cooperages in Montilla from retired coopers and find out their thoughts on what is essential to keep in their traditions and what can be carried forward into a new age. 

We are still working, today being our first of many over-12-hour days this week. We couldn’t be more excited to continue being so tired. 

Thanks for following along in our journey. Be sure to check our social media and come back to read the blog daily during the next week of filming!