Wine bottles have always been my favourite sort of decoration, and one that renders IKEA pointless.
Entering Bodegas Baviera is a little bit like entering the rabbit hole with Alice, although she was always the wet blanket in that wonderful tale.
Bodegas Baviera, in case you hadn’t guessed, sells wine and other liquid gifts of the gods, and has been doing so since 1870, although there had already been a similar establishment on the same site beforehand.
In the distant past, when the Earth was peopled by creatures who knew how to live without air conditioning, the premises were used to store ice that had been brought down from the mountains, as was the custom or pre-A/C man.
The Baviera family originally ran their business in this old
XVIII century palace in Calle Corretgeria, 28, and the building has seen many comings and goings.
Napoleon’s troops popped in for a few bottles back in the early 19th century, and ended up helping themselves to the whole supply, only slightly bothered by the rifle shots of irate neighbours.
A less overbearing visitor was Cardinal Benlloch, whose name adorns one of the city’s main avenues today. The Cardinal had a space reserved for the purposes of writing his memoirs (or at least that’s what he probably told his wife he was doing).
Like many building in the historic centre, the Bodega was requisitioned by the Republic when it abandoned Madrid, turning Valencia temporarily into the Spanish capital.
During the 60s, the Gabarda Capilla family, from Villar del Arzobispo, took it over and followed the traditional method of selling wine straight from the barrel. This practice was outlawed in the 70s, as all good things are eventually, although a few barrels still remain tucked away in a corner.
For some curious reason, the shop focused on oil and wine, as was the custom; although what they have in common, is a mystery.
In 1988 pressure from the neighbours forced the owners to move the bodega to its present situation at number 40 in the same street, for which the inhabitants of number 28 have been for ever ostracized.
Today the business is run by Vicente Gabarda Aparicio, who started his career working for his grandmother Bárbara in her bar in Villar del Arzobispo before moving to Valencia to run Bodegas Baviera, initially with his father.
The family also has a collection of musical instruments, which will have their own museum soon.