Some theories hold that Bages comes from Bacus, the god of wine. Others, which comes from the previous Iberian language. Whatever it is, there is no doubt that Bages was a major wine producer in Roman Ages. amphoras, tools and even written references - also beyond our borders - show it.
After the fall of the Roman Empire there was an abandonment of the vine, which, with Christianity, will be resumed paulativamente until the arrival of the Phylloxera Plague in 1890. As shown, as early as 1330 King Alfons IV "Benigne" Decrees that in Santpedor it prohibits the outsiders to enter vineyard or vine since this single population already produced enough wine for other many populations. Until 1890 practically all the Bages was covered with vineyards, with more than 4,000 "dry stone" vineyard huts. Even today, riding between pine groves and oaks, you can see the old "feixes" (terraces) now covered by forests, totally abandoned stone wine tubs, vineyard huts...
The Plague of the Phylloxera caused a notable abandonment of the vine and the territory; from the rural world to the factories, textile colonies or cities. Of the hundreds of farms and families dedicated to the vineyard there are scarcely more than a dozen expert producers -some with centuries of history- grouped in the D.O. Pla de Bages.
With this route, we will discover almost a dozen producers, and a constant references and landscapes to the wine productions.
Day 1.- 52.6 km and 770 m. ascent accum. (or 44.22 km and 557 m. ascent. acumulated).
Departure from Manresa, the route leads to the impressive monastery of Sant Benet del Bages, founded in 960. With an important dedication to the production of wines, from its beginnings, it was for centuries competing with Montserrat, until it became depend on it. At the beginning of the twentieth century was acquired by the family of the painter Ramon Casas, residing in it long seasons. Recently acquired by a bank, it is currently an inspired complex, work center and study of food and headquarters of the Alicia Foundation.
After crossing Navarcles (with its reservoir known as "the lake") as well as some precise places during the way, we arrive at Artés between vineyards. Following the track we find three producers: an excellent and handmade winery with a perfectly elaborated production; The village cooperative - with a wide and varied production of wines; And the only producer of cava of the D.O., with a small but exuberant range. Going out to the outskirts we arrive to one of the biggest producers of the DO, whose wines are offered in many of the best restaurants. But the track continues to a well-known restaurant - a good place for lunch - which was also in its time a Wine producing center. Their great stone tubs prove it.
The route shows us a new producer near Sallent, located between mountains. This will be the most exhausted section of the day and practically the whole route, with 1 km of strong ascent. After crossing Sallent, the route continues through the beautiful landscapes of the "la sèquia" - a small medieval canal that allowed the transfer of water from Llobregat to Manresa - to the comfortable accommodation.
The "Light option" reduces the hardness of this last section, riding along paths and quiet roads the distance (14 km.) between the restaurant and comfortable accommodation.
Day 2. - 53.00 km and 580 m. ascend accumulated.
After breakfast, following sections of the "la Sèquia" - a small medieval canal to allow the transfer of water from Llobregat to Manresa - through a flat landscape we go to Sant Iscle, a small hermitage and farmhouse - in its time dependent on Sant Benet - producers Of the wine from the vineyards that surround them from very remote times. Soon we arrived at Santpedor - crossing the "Aiguamolls de la Bábbila" - visiting its old town. After crossing several shrines and hermitages and a myriad of farmhouses - many of them next to their stone vats - we arrived at the outskirts of Sant Joan de Vilatorrada, where surrounded by vineyards, we found another small but professional producer. It not only produces its wines; Advises and collaborates with other small producers…
The route leads us again through small and beautiful forests, approaching Salelles, a magnificent example of the Catalan rural world. Previously, we will have visited a small and expert producer, who even exports abroad part of his limited but extraordinary wine production.
Soon we arrived at a cozy restaurant, next to a golf course, with beautiful views of Montserrat; an ideal place to eat ... a few meters from one of the largest and historical wine producers of the D.O. Pla de Bages. Tourists from all over the world go through their facilities, vineyards and productions.
The arrival to Manresa, following the footsteps of San Ignacio de Loyola on the "Ignaciano Road" will show us a face of the city completely unknown, ending next to the bus station, next to a Hotel.