Mallorca is a very special place for professional cyclists, it has some of the most famous cycling routes in the world. Mallorca enjoyed a huge boom in popularity in 2012 in the UK when Bradley Wiggins, a British cycling legend and 2012 Olympic success story, professed his love for the island and shared secrets of his training schedule which included many hours riding in the Tramuntana mountain range. And Mallorca is also the home of more than a hundred different “bodegas” (small wine-making businesses), so why not combine the two?

Ses Rotes estate is 250 years old and I dare you not to be impressed: it’s set in 100 acres of land amongst the beautiful Tramuntana Mountains on the edge of the village of Esporles, north of Palma. The private estate houses 6 hectares of vines, and a boutique winery, and it’s home to several international sports horses and to Londoner Dan Marsh and his Swedish wife Emelie and their family.

Dan and Emelie.

Why Mallorca?

“We were looking for a great place to bring the kids up, a great school, beautiful climate, and a mix of interesting people. We chose Mallorca and moved here in 2010”. In their previous life in London, Dan had worked in luxury hospitality and events, and Emelie competed professionally as a show jumper and horse trainer. The Marsh’s relocation to Mallorca afforded them the opportunity to develop their interests, and start their dream project: Ses Rotes.

The beginning

By chance Dan, a very keen cyclist, replied to a tweet from Matt Prior (English wicket keeper) which led to him taking the recently retired pro sportsman on a cycling tour around the island and then helping him establish a cycling team, One Pro Cycling.

Dan leveraged his hospitality experience, and established a company specialising in bespoke cycling holidays and tours for large companies such as INEOS. He now creates tailormade experiences for a few groups looking for an absolutely top end experience. The Ses Rotes team counts physios, photographers, hiking guides and former professional riders amongst its team of experts to help provide the best possible experience. Dan’s concept dovetails nicely with his partners, the ultra cool Hotel Esplendido in Puerto Soller, Hotel Portixol on the trendy outskirts of Palma, and the Palma Tennis Club in the equally trendy Santa Catalina in the heart of the city, which are all owned by Emilie’s family.

What can you tell us about riding with Lance Armstrong?

“Lance runs a hugely popular annual cycling event in Mallorca for American cycling fans who are the latest demographic to set their sights on riding the island's roads. He, and his bitter rival from the bad old days of cycling, Jan Ulrich, dropped into Ses Rotes to visit. But they are great friends now rather than wary adversaries.

“I was invited along to ride with them up Sa Calobra, a very famous ride here on the island. They may be great friends now, but neither of them was going to let the other beat them up the climb! Despite being no slouch myself on a bike, they just disappeared into the distance and left me in their dust! It was a very special moment watching these two legends race each other up Sa Calobra.”

Developing the equestrian business

After several years of searching for the perfect place, the couple discovered the Ses Rotes estate in 2016. The finca and its outbuildings had been used as a popular tourist attraction back in the early days of Mallorcan tourism. Those days were long gone and it was in need of complete renovation and a serious financial investment, but the estate had always had horses and the beautiful stable block area sealed the deal for Emelie.

Seven years later Ses Rotes now has a state of the art equestrian facility. It boasts an automated horse walker machine, extensive stables, private individual paddocks, outdoor riding arenas and Mallorca’s only covered all weather arena, which also doubles as an event space for Christmas, craft and art markets. Emelie and her assistants are responsible for the training and breeding of top class sports horses. They can be seen competing regularly at the island’s federated competitions wearing distinctive bright green and pink outfits, and many of the horses that Emelie has bred now compete, and win, internationally.

And then the wine

With so much land, it had to have a vineyard. Naturally. Starting from scratch, Dan collected a small team and together they planted, pruned, tended, picked and learned on the job. The first Ses Rotes vintage was produced in 2020. In 2023 they bottled reds, whites, roses and even an orange wine, which is rare for this part of the world. They just launched a new range of more complex wines, named ‘16 hands’ the ideal height for a showjumper, measured in the archaic British measurement.

What is an orange wine?

It occurs when the grape juice is allowed time to remain in contact with the grape skins. It's halfway between a white and a red, but it’s more complex than that. You will just have to try a glass to understand. You can purchase wines from Ses Rotes at some select restaurants and hotels on the island, or you can get your hands on some by joining their exclusive wine community. The wine community also offers open sessions to learn about the wine making process as you lend a hand with the pruning, picking or bottling, almost always culminating in an alfresco lunch, or evening event in the extensive grounds, sometimes in partnership with the island's most creative restaurants and chefs. It’s all washed down of course with a glass or two of the extremely local vintage that you had a hand in creating. It’s a wonderful way to spend a day.

How you can get involved

You can join the Ses Rotes wine community which is a great way to make new international friends on the island. The wine community holds events all year round, and asks its members to get involved with bottling the wine, picking the grapes and everything in between, there’s always a glass or two of wine to be enjoyed and quite frequently a large communal paella to tuck into.



Cycling Routes Dan Recommends - All distances are measured from Palma Cathedral

Easy ride, 4.93km, +863m of climbing.

Leave Palma over the Coll Sa Creu, known to most as ‘military hill’ as it passes an army base. (MA-1043), turn right towards Puigpunyent (MA-1016&1043), Dan’s recommended coffee stop is the recently renovated Bar Restaurante Es Pont on the crossroads in the village, there is a drinking water tap by the bridge to top up your water bottles. Then follow the stunningly pretty MA-1101 Es Grau through the winding climbs and past the vineyards to Esporles (MA-1040) and back to Palma via Establiments.

Medium ride. 80.1km, +1547m of climbing.

Leave Palma following the MA-1040 towards Establiments and MA-1100 to Esporles, through the village and onto the legendary MA-10 coast road towards Banyalbufar and the stunning coastal ride of the Southern Tramuntana. Take care in the winter months on the shaded corners as the roads can be slippery. Take time to have a look around the stunningly pretty stone village of Estellencs, and perhaps a coffee on the sea view terrace at Cafe Vall Hermos. Follow the MA-10 towards Andratx, at the top of the climb the road passes a short tunnel with a few steps up to a historic watchtower, and the Restaurante Es Grau with surely some of the best views on the island, it’s usually closed in the winter though. Descend into Andratx and take a left MA-1031) towards Es Capdella, (MA-1015) Calvia, through the village towards military hill (MA-1016 & 1043) and back to Palma.

Tough Ride. 160km, +2841m climbing.

You’ll want to leave all day for this one as you head to the iconic Sa Calobra, a bucket list climb for riders the world over. From Palma head for Santa Maria (MA-13A) then tick off Consell, Binissalem and Inca. Follow the signs to the Lluc monastery (M-2130), pass through Selva and its imposing church. Dan recommends a stop at the restaurant in the olive oil works Oli Caimari, then up the prettiest climb on the island, the Coll de Sa Bataia. Left at the iconic gas station (MA-10) and when you pass under the historic aqueduct next to the fresh orange juice stall head right for the Coll de Reis climb and prepare to be gobsmacked as Sa Calobra opens up in front of you. It’s a long way down, and even longer way back up the way you came.Then head for home, but there is still plenty to come. Pass the two reservoirs Gorg Blau and Cuber, and down the longest descent on the island to the pretty Soller Valley. You’ll be glad of a seat in front of the Hotel Esplendido for a refined coffee and cake right on the waterfront in the port. From there the only way is up, over the apparently endless hairpin turns of the Coll de Soller and down the other side, (MA-11A). You’ll likely get this almost free of traffic as the tunnel takes most of the motor vehicles off this amazing road. Then it’s a flat straight blast back to the island’s capital. Shower, beer, collapse, enjoy.