The West

The traditional side of Mallorca
Palma Cathedral, Mallorca. Picture: Ben Hall

There is much more to Mallorca than sunbathing or partying in one of the island's many beach bars at Platja de Palma.

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Indeed, the best way to experience Mallorca's traditional side is a trip to the island's interior to sample locally produced wines and olive oil.

The municipality of Consell de Mallorca is situated just 30km from the hectic bars and clubs at Platja de Palma, but feels like a different world. While partygoers drink and dance through the night along the coast, the atmosphere at the Can Ribas family bodega is calm and tranquil.

"Mantonegro, together with syrah and a small bit of merlot," says Ellen, a sommelier at the winery, as she samples some red wine.

The vineyard has been run by the Ribas family since 1711 and is one of the oldest wineries on Mallorca. Wine tourism is a growing industry on the island and it is now possible to take organised tours of vineyards.

Another method is to rent a car or take a bus to the various bodegas. The Ribas bodega is just 20 minutes away from Palma. Tours are only possible by appointment.

Although the old bodega has been renovated and modernised to optimise wine-making, the centuries-old entrance immediately gives away its long Ribas tradition in this industry. Visitors enter the winery and pass through a private garden and by tables covered with white tablecloths.

"Cherry and also a little bit of basil," says Ellen as she describes another wine. "Mallorcan wines are very, very fruity."

The taste certainly appears to be a hit with international consumers as Balearic Islands wines from the area are currently enjoying a bit of a renaissance, according to the local tourist office.

Quality wines are not all that the island's interior has to offer; there are also countless olive plantations, which can be explored thanks to four separate organised tours.

For example, The Finca Treurer plantation, belonging to Joan Miralles, lies around 15km south of Consell. Miralles, a big man with dark black hair, gave up his job as a hotel manager 12 years to grow olives.

Treurer oil is served on the plantation's villa terrace together with tapas and red wine.

"You could almost drink it," says one visitor of the oil, a comment that pleases Miralles.

Really good olive oil tastes of fruits and nuts, he explains. One of the trees on the plantation is over 500 years old.

"It's probably the most valuable tree we have here," he says.

The West Australian

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