The church, very large considering the size of the town, gives evidence of a past wealth that was most likely associated with wine.
Phylloxera reached the Ribera del Duero in 1904 and San Martín de Rubiales was, sadly, the first town where it was found. The town's population was then about 1,000 residents, but it suffered a decline of about 15% over the next 15 years. The Phylloxera infestation culminated with a significant emigration out of the town, one which was more pronounced than those of nearby towns like Roa de Duero, which gives an idea of the impact of the plague here and the importance that wine making held in those days. Up until then most of the hillsides that connect the valley with the highlands, as well as much of the highlands themselves, were covered with vineyards and almond groves.
The vineyard recovered, in part, and our elders tell us that up until the 1950s, when irrigation and new technology arrived in the valley, grapes occupied the better part of the valley's terrain, from the hillsides to the highlands and up and down the right bank of the river. The vine gradually lost ground to other crops, and in the end only small pockets were left, with most of those being on the hillsides that border the valley. .
In recent decades, the vines are again retaking areas that had traditionally been its home, starting another new chapter in the region's history.