A new wine in honour of the founder of Cala d'Or
Over in the picturesque resort of Cala d'Or, they're celebrating the local fiesta of Santa Maria and one of the acts was a
homage to its founder, Josep Costa, known to all as Picarol, during which a wine named in his honour was drunk copiously. It's a fitting tribute by the bodega – "https://www.facebook.com/sine.sole" target="_blank">Son Alegre Vinya, which specialises in ecologically produced wines - to the man without whom there would be no Cala d'Or.
Picarol was born in Ibiza but moved to Palma and later Barcelona to study both art and architecture, but abandoned this and became a caricaturist. He'd fallen in with an arty, Bohemian set in the
big city and harboured plans to build a colony for creatives in Mallorca.
Plan A, to build it close to the Hotel Formentor in Pollensa, was stymied when the military put a thundering great hydroplane base next door. Picarol then came across the rocky calas (coves) near
Santanyi which reminded him of Cala d'Hort in his native Ibiza and proceeded to buy the land and invite all his friends along too.
The likes of Olegario Junyent, painter and set designer of the Liceo Theatre in Barcelona, Ramon Balet, the film producer, the glamorous Natacha Rambova, costume designer and ex wife of Rudolph
Valentino, and Belgian painter Medard Verburgh flocked to the development which echoed the architecture of Ibiza, with simple whitewashed cubic houses.
Verburgh liked it so much that he built the first hotel, the Cala d'Or, in a similar style, which had only 9 rooms at the
time and was used as a military barracks during the civil war. The war was also responsible for ruining plans to turn Cala d'Or into the Hollywood of the Mediterranean, where films would be made
using the incredible natural light of the area.
These days, thanks to the tourist boom starting in the 50's Cala d'Or is a fully fledged holiday resort and the largest area of population in Santanyi, with 5,000 residents. There are still
vestiges of the old colony; the church which is also on the label of the wine, the hotel which is now Mallorca's third oldest surviving one, and many streets which are named after places in Ibiza.
So next time you're in the resort, raise a glass of Picarol – it comes in red, white and the other one – to Josep Costa, the talented and visionary Ibicenco who created Cala d'Or – even if the
locals couldn't get their tongues around pronouncing it Cala d'Hort!