Apostle’s Day is a holiday in many autonomous communities, but, above all, it is special in one of them, since on this date the Day of Galicia is commemorated. This year, in addition, there has been the happy coincidence that July 25 is a Monday and, therefore, we can enjoy a splendid long weekend in the middle of the summer. What better way to celebrate it than immersing ourselves in a historic corner of Galicia?
The Pazo Baión estate has witnessed, for five centuries, the transformation of Galicia and the evolution of its society. Therefore, it is the ideal place to learn about all the changes experienced in five key areas: history, heritage, architecture, economy, and tourism. And, above all, to toast Galicia with a glass of Albariño in hand.
Take advantage of this long weekend to enjoy the best wine tourism in the Rías Baixas, pairing a centuries-old history with the intense varietal perfumes of Pazo Baión’s single-estate Albariños.
To whet your appetite, we invite you to join us in a small approach to the soul of Pazo Baión… and of Galicia: a story that combines history, heritage, architecture, economy, and tourism, through the land and buildings that are part of this historic corner of Galicia.
History: The noble roots of the Casa de Fontán
Pazo Baión was not always called this way. Originally the pazo was called Casa de Fontán and from the end of the 16th century until 1915 it was owned by different noble families: the Sarmiento, the Varela Seixas Sarmiento and the Ozores Silva Varela Sarmiento. During.
For more than 300 years, the pazo witnessed the rise of the Galician nobility, but also its decline. While the Sarmiento family resided in the old Casa de Fontán, becoming major players in O Salnés, the following lineages were urban nobles who were largely unconcerned with the pazo and its estate.
Visitors to Pazo Baión can trace in the stones the different noblemen who passed through the property thanks to the heraldry. The pazo displays the lustrous coats of arms of the noble families that lived there. Chiseled traces of their evolution.
The decline of the nobility was manifested in all its rawness in Pazo Baión. The last holder of the estate of the Casa de Fontán mortgaged the property, which would end up, in 1915, as mentioned above, in the hands of an owner who did not come from the nobility: a rich indiano, Adolfo Fojo Silva.
Thus, the economic, political, and territorial power of the nobility gave way to the capital importance played by the Indianos, emigrants who had returned to Galicia after making their fortune in America. Fojo Silva left his mark on the property with the construction of the dairy and the winery. The noble roots of Pazo Baión bore fruit in a modern economic infrastructure that today has opened the doors of the estate to the most innovative winemaking technologies, placing this historic corner of Galicia at the forefront of the sector.
Heritage: The resilience of centuries-old knowledge and buildings
Beyond its exuberant landscapes, Galicia is a territory that stands out for its immense heritage, both tangible and intangible. Pazo Baión is a good example of this. In the hectares that make up the estate we can find a manor house with five centuries of history, but also a beautiful dovecote, a portentous cowshed, converted into a state-of-the-art winery, and, precisely, an old winery.
All these centenary buildings perfectly represent the history of Galicia, the importance of the primary sector in its economy, as we will see later, but also the relevance of stone. In Pazo Baión and in Galicia, the stones speak. They recite pieces of history. They invite us to travel back in time. Walking through the Pazo Baión estate, visitors can imagine what life was like in the past. Visualize the farmers and winegrowers. Feel the animals. Smell the daily life.
If this were not enough, Pazo Baión is also a historic corner of Galicia that treasures something less palpable but just as powerful: the intangible heritage. The millenary wisdom is associated with the cultivation of the vine and the production of Albariño wine.
Long before the Casa de Fontán was raised to the sky, grapes were already being cultivated in Baión and the rest of the valley of O Salnés. The native albariño variety has been perfected over the centuries, thanks to the knowledge accumulated by monks and winemakers. All this ocean of practices and knowledge has reached the present day, making albariño wine a global wine reference. Pazo Baión shows this journey from tradition to innovation. Visitors to the estate can learn firsthand the history of Albariño and how it is made in a historic corner of Galicia.
Architecture: The magic of renovation
Architecture has undergone a true revolution in the last century. At the same time that avant-garde designs have been devised and built, the need to take care of the architecture of yesteryear, rehabilitating it and bringing it back to life, has also grown. The rehabilitation project of César Portela, National Architecture Prize winner and one of the most important architects of modern Galicia, is a paradigmatic example of this process.
When Condes de Albarei bought the property in 2008 and began the current successful phase of Pazo Baión, it made a firm commitment to renovation. That is why he commissioned Portela to design an ambitious project to take the estate into the future while making its monumental past shine.
After the renovation designed by César Portela and under the baton of Condes de Albarei, Pazo Baión has become a prestigious tourist destination and an icon of the rehabilitation of historic spaces. The scrupulous respect for the heritage is combined with a sublime design of natural spaces and the most modern facilities and services.
The Galicia of the 16th century coexists with that of the 21st century, fusing the best of history with the virtues of the present. Pazo Baión is a historic corner of Galicia where the past, the present, the wine industry, and quality tourism come together to offer a unique experience to all those who come to discover it.
Economy: The explosion of the wine industry
When the old Casa de Fontán was built, the Galician economy was based on the primary sector: agriculture, livestock, and fishing. In five centuries the economy, Galicia, and the world have changed a lot.
In terms of winemaking, wine production has gone from being carried out only in monasteries and noblemen’s houses such as Pazo Baión, and for self-consumption in the case of red wine, to becoming a thriving and innovative industry with its Designation of Origin, the DO Rías Baixas.
Today, hundreds of families in the Rías Baixas are dedicated to the cultivation of wine and a large number of wineries have proliferated that have opted for innovation and technology.
Pazo Baión has facilities equipped with the most advanced tools and infrastructure to produce three fascinating single-estate Albariños. An avant-garde winery, located in a renovated historic building, demonstrates once again that the fusion between past and present is part of its DNA.
The growth of the wine industry in the Rías Baixas has been so great that in 2021, 43 million kilos of grapes were harvested. And more than 9.4 million liters of wine were exported. Which shows the consolidation and internationalization of the Albariño industry. Self-consumption has given way to economic activity with muscle, which energizes the entire Rías Baixas and covers them with a spectacular mantle of vineyards.
Tourism: From Galicia to the world
Many centuries before tourism became a mass phenomenon and a fundamental economic sector, Galicia already welcomed tourists: the pilgrims who made the pilgrimage to Santiago to visit the remains of the Apostle. In this sense, Galicia was a pioneer of proto-tourism and, above all, of welcoming people coming from distant corners of the world. In other words, the tourism boom that Galicia has experienced in recent years has its roots deeply rooted in the past.
Precisely in a Xacobeo year, 1993, TVE premiered De Galicia para el mundo, a program that brought the charms and history of Galicia to thousands of viewers, but, above all, to Galician emigrants scattered around the world through its international channel.
Several decades later, it is clear that Galicia has opened up to the world. Not only because of the Camino de Santiago, its monuments, its coast, and its mountains but also because of the prestige of its products. Galician beef, seafood from the Arousa estuary, and Galician wines are consumed all over the world. The best letter of introduction to land that combines breathtaking landscapes with a unique gastronomic and wine offer.
All this is visible in Pazo Baión, a wine estate in the heart of the Rías Baixas. On the property, visitors can see how the best ambassador of Galicia is made: Albariño wine. From the vine to the bottle. And from there, to the glass and the senses.
Pazo Baión, a historic corner of Galicia, is a reference in wine tourism
Pazo Baión is also a historic corner of Galicia, recognized as a quality tourist destination and a benchmark in the practice of wine tourism and sustainable tourism. Nature and history ensure that the visitor’s experience is unique and will live on in the memory.
At the Pazo Baión estate, every detail is taken care of to the extreme. The gardens, the sculptures, the palm grove, the dovecote… The stones and nature merge into a single creation. Moreover, at this time of the year, the property lives its most glorious time. The vineyards that surround the pazo are in the decisive stage: the ripening of the grapes to be harvested at the end of the summer.
If all this were not enough, just a few kilometers from Pazo Baión, tourists can enjoy historic villages, beautiful beaches, and the best seafood.
In short, our estate, with its hundreds of years of accumulated experience, has become a historic corner of Galicia. A magical place where past and present converge, but which looks to the future. An open book whose pages are made of stones and vines, where visitors can delve into the history of Galicia while enjoying the best Albariños.