The Antigua Casa de Guardia is an institution in Malaga. Its bar in the centre of the city is one of the oldest businesses in the province. This year it is celebrating its 177th anniversary.
It was founded in 1840 by José de la Guardia, who was appointed governor of Soria by Queen Isabel II. He sold the winery to Enrique Navarro, who ran it until 1895. When he died childless, two of his workers, brothers José and Antonio Ruiz Luque, took it over. In 1932 one of their nephews José Garijo Ruiz ran it and stayed as director until 1996. Between the 60s and 80s, the university student movement and Malaga cultural society took over. Garijo also ran the winery where the wines that were sold in the bar were made, and which has now become a tourist attraction.
One of the winery's most sought after products was its sacramental wine. José was a Roman Catholic until his death. However, in 1939 he was tried and sentenced to seven years in prison for belonging to an illegal association, the Malaga Masons,” says Cayetano Garijo, current director of the winery. The jail sentence led to excommunication. “My grandfather fought until he was able to get reinstated by the Church in 1978, and he proudly remained a Roman Catholic until the end of his days,” says his grandson.
When excommunicated, José Garijo, who until then was the largest provider of sacramental wine in the province, reached an agreement in 1947 with his friends Carlos Javier and Juan Krauel. “They both helped him to continue selling the wine to the church. Bodegas Antigua Casa de Guardia continued to make the sacramental wine, but Krauel was the one who delivered it from his cellar. The churches and parishes were both aware of this but they knew that my grandfather was a good person,” explains Cayetano.
In 1968, Bodega Krauel closed its doors. It was then that José Garijo stopped making wine as a sign of respect to his friend. From that date until today the churches and parishes have purchased wine from different wineries.
Now, half a century later, his grandson Cayetano Garijo and Carlos Krauel's grandson, Javier Krauel have joined forces again. Garijo is now the one who is helping Krauel to make a vermouth following the 1885 family recipe of the old Krauel company, while they get all the paperwork completed that will allow them to reopen the family winery.
Last year the Antigua Casa de Guardia became an official supplier to the cathedral, providing them with a 64-litre wine barrel for mass. Now the winery is producing bottled wine to offer to the churches of the Diocese of Malaga. “It respects the Eucharistic Congress held in Barcelona in 1948 where the rules for making the sacramental wine are established and we believe that we can resupply a large number of the churches in Malaga,” says Cayetano Garijo.