Per capita consumption of local wines has dropped almost 30% in the last 20 years. Although still popular in bars and at home, the increased production and fall in sales has led to a glut on the market causing a drop of 50% in the price of grapes and financial problems for many farmers. However recent success stories like the bodegas Jarel and Bentomiz have provided a promising future for the local Moscatel grape and their growers.
Drying the Grapes
Historically, the Malagenean owners of vineyards have separated part of their crops to make raisins. The grapes are laid on paseros (raisin dryers) next to the farm houses. Paseros built in the form of rectangular white sloping platforms can be seen throughout Axarquia.
In 1880 the French pharmaceutical researcher Husson wrote that only in Axarquia could real raisins be produced – ‘raisins require those beautiful skies to dry by the burning sun’.
The 18th and 19th centuries were the most commercially successful period. In only two decades of the 19th century, over 200 million kilos of raisins were exported to the rest of the world. Decorated boxes were regularly requested from popes, emperors and kings. Then, the muscatel raisin met an important competitor in currants grown in Corinth, Greece. Currants however, are smaller, pitless and darker than the sweet Axarquean raisin.