The first vines arrived in Penedès 2700 years ago brought by the Phoenicians. Today, DO Penedès is the Catalan DO with the oldest historical ties and very strong traditions. Its boundaries stretch from the mountains at the west of the appellation reaching 800 m of altitude to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Its 2500 ha of vineyards are planted on a diverse palette of climates and soils, resulting in 10 different subregions that add huge diversity to its wines. The range of indigenous varieties such as Xarel•lo, Macabeu or Sumoll cohabit in harmony with other international grapes, perfectly adapted to the Mediterranean climate and the local soils.
Originally from Barcelona, Álvaro moved to London in 2006 after completing his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering. His wine passion developed over several years, working in restaurants and wine bars in the UK capital. Over the years that followed, Álvaro studied all WSET qualifications, finishing his Diploma in 2014, for which he won the Lustau and Derouet Jameson Scholarships. In 2011, Álvaro completed a master’s degree in engineering management and carried out the final thesis in a wine bottling plant in Veneto, Italy. He has been working for Indigo Wine, Spanish Specialist Importer, since 2014, currently as their Spanish buyer. In 2021, Álvaro completed his Master of Wine studies and was awarded the Madame Bollinger Medal for excellence in tasting and outstanding achievement in the Institute of Masters of Wine practical exams. Álvaro speaks four languages, and outside of wine, he enjoys running, playing football, cooking, travelling, and spending time with his young family.
Rick's Pick: University of Tarragona instructor and winemaker, Antoni Sanchez-Ortiz focuses on climate change and how viticulture must adapt in Spain’s DOQ Priorat region.
The mesoclimate determines climatic differences due to the topography of the Priorat and that give rise to local modifications or changes that can affect to more or less ample extensions. Factors that condition them include distance to the sea, altitude, orientation, exposure, and latitude. Between nearby municipalities, noticeable differences in temperature, precipitation, insolation and thermal amplitude can be seen, which affect the processes of growth, bud breaking, fruit formation, ripening and, ultimately, the composition of grapes. The prediction of an interval of concentrations of color and tannins would be of utmost importance to define qualities and styles of wine, given the great inter-parcel variability observed in plots of Grenache and Carignan vines within the Priorat DOQ.
Here is his bio, as narrated by Antoni:
I was born in December 4th, 1978 into a family with few financial resources in a small valley in the Spain’s Pyrenees. Although my parents never had the chance to go to school, I had some talent to study science and so continued my studies until college. After five years in college, I majored in analytical chemistry and more particularly to assess the degree of chemistry in the University of Barcelona. After I worked in corrosion of automobile engines and intercoolers using the Swaat Tecnique, at Frape Behr. Quickly I moved into the development of a GC-MS (gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy) methods to determinate fatty acid composition from raw materials (mainly palm and coconut oil), where I worked at Henkel Düsseldorf plant in Germany for one year after obtaining a scholarship.
It was there almost by chance where I took a course of wine tasting and there began my interest in the discovery of quality wines. Consequently I fell in love with fine wines. In the following years, after studying enology within the University Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona (Spain) and the University Victor Segalen in Bordeaux. I graduated as a winemaker at 23 years of age. For 18 years now I have worked full time within the demanding context of producing world-class wines, both as a winemaker and as a viticulturist in the renowned appellation of Priorat,Spain. For many years I have also worked closely with the renowned French consulting enologist Claude Gross, and have travelled to California to study the Pinot Noir blending techniques of Sea Smoke Cellars, the acclaimed Pinot Noir producer near Santa Barbara, California. I like obtaining outstanding fine wines with a unique personality, making a superb red wine in the Priorat wine growing region, as an expression of varietal and site showcases the best which region’s true native character. Currently, with the consulting company I am also committed to producing one of the high-end, handmade organic olive oil in Spain’s Pyrennees. My conviction that great wine results from an intimate knowledge of the land arises from additional experience in vineyard management and climate warming studies as a PhD candidate with the Viticulture Department at the Faculty of Enology in Tarragona.
Rick's Pick: Join DO Cava President Javier Pagés as he explains the numerous changes happening with one of the world’s most important sparkling wine regions.
Cava is synonymous with excellence, and its high standard is achieved thanks to the authenticity guaranteed by the traditional method elaboration process. This 2021 is full of new challenges, important steps continue evolving D.O. Cava's strategy focused on value and excellence with the activation of the ambitious segmentation and zoning project. This webinar guided by Mr. Javier Pagés, president of the D.O. Cava Regulatory Board, will take you through the 4 qualitative pillars which represent Cava’s identity and the future challenges for D.O. Cava embracing a sustained compromise with its territory, producers and the environment.
Javier Pagés is a father of four and a great lover of the world of wine and sports. Born in Barcelona, he got a degree in Business Administration from ESADE, an MBA from IESE and an International Marketing Degree from the Harvard Business School.
Since September 2018, he has presided over the Regulatory Council of the CAVA Protected Designation of Origin. Over his long career, he has held important positions and gained considerable experience as a CEO, director and president. He also has an extensive background in family and international businesses.
In addition, he is the President of the Barcelona Wine Week (BWW) international Spanish wine fair. For eleven years he has been a Director of the SAICA Group, a leading European company in the manufacture of recycled paper and packaging. He is also an entrepreneur.
He has been the CEO of the Raventós CODORNIU Group for over thirteen years, with wineries in Spain, the USA and Argentina, and distribution subsidiaries in several countries; the President of Bodegas Bilbaínas S.A. for twelve years; and from 2013 to 2018, he was the Vice-President and President of the Spanish Wine Federation (FEV), Vice-President of the Interprofessional Organization of Spanish Wine (OIVE) and President of the Spanish Observatory of the World of Wine (OEMV).
Quentin's love of wine was kickstarted by a misspent youth on family holidays in Spain's Valencian Community.
From his first tentative sips of wine, when he was three, he has seen the wines of the region utterly transformed. Join him as he revisits that transformation and see how this rather overlooked wine region is changing and becoming a source of some truly exciting wines!
A miss-spent youth in Spain gave him a love of wine and in his 35 years, and counting, in the wine business Quentin has done pretty much everything. He holds all WSET qualifications up to Diploma and his main focus for the last twenty years has been as a wine educator, wine writer and blogger. This in turn led him to use his love of design to create maps that he could use in his courses and on his blog. Map making for books and presentations grew to become the major part of his work and brought him to our attention.
Quentin joined WSG in the Autumn of 2020, although prior to that he had created the maps for both the Spanish Wine Scholar and the Italian Wine Scholar Prep courses.
He continues to teach and write and is often found judging wines all around the world.
Cosecha. Joven. Viejo. And the list goes on. Many wine-producing countries use local-language wine-related terminology without realizing their consumers are unaware of their meaning. Even native language speakers are sometimes confused by these terms as they are technical and/or relate to wine law.
No need to worry! Below is your very own Spanish Wine Glossary (in alphabetical order) providing the top 25 wine terms you need-to-know to navigate Spanish wine.
Rick's Pick: Miguel Torres discusses the winery's role in the fight against climate change discussion as well as the recovery and rediscovery of Spain’s lost indigenous grapes.
Over thirty years ago, Familia Torres embarked on an exciting project close to its heart: the recuperation of ancestral varieties which were believed extinct after the devastating phylloxera plague of the late 19th century. The idea was to recover the winemaking heritage of Catalonia, and thanks to the efforts of the family's fifth generation, the project is going stronger than ever! More than 50 varieties have been rediscovered so far, a few of which are very interesting from a winemaking perspective.
Miguel Torres, who is now heading these efforts, will share more about this amazing project and how it is also making a positive impact on climate change.
Miguel Torres Maczassek is fifth-generation and has been the General Manager of Familia Torres since 2012. Miguel started as Manager of the Jean Leon winery (Penedès), later at Familia Torres he oversaw the new ventures in Priorat, Ribera del Duero, Rioja, Rueda and Rias Baixas and worked as General Manager of Miguel Torres Chile. Today, his primary focus is the production of wines from unique vineyards and historical estates, climate change and the recovery of ancestral varieties.
Galicia not only has an astonishing green landscape, but it produces some of the freshest and most vibrant wines in Spain. The wet, green corner of Spain is home to some of the steepest vineyards of the world, some which have an inclination of more than 100%! The diversity of the different wine growing appellations and the wide array of local grape varieties creates a fantastic diversity of styles to explore.
Jonas Tofterup, who is based in Spain, is the first Danish Master of Wine. He holds an M.Sc. in Viticulture and Oenology and has worked as a winemaker at a number of wineries, from the main wine regions in Northern Spain to Yecla, Stellenbosch, Baden, Rheingau and in Denmark. In 2015, Jonas moved to the commercial side of the wine world where he became the European export manager for Viña Valdivieso of Chile. Along with working for Valdivieso he is a wine consultant for ALDI Denmark and owns Iberian Wine Academy, a wine school which offers WSET qualifications based in Andalucía.
Ribera del Duero is an up and coming Spanish wine region, along the Duero River in central Spain. It's signature grape Tempranillo has found it´s place in high altitude plateaus in this arid and demanding region. Vineyards are found throughout the valley between 750 and 1060 m shaping the style of wine. Local winemakers are carving a name for themselves in small rural communities totally off the beaten track.
Ribera del Duero wines are deep coloured, robust and powerful with an incredible ageing potential yet intrepid winemakers are adapting to world trends. There are some delicious easy drinking young wines on the market with even a white wine being added to the eclectic Ribera del Duero range.
Jeni Wilson an Australia/Scottish wine lover and English teacher arrived in the Ribera del Duero in 2001 and in 2004 opened her wine academy Vintage Class to teach English to the local wineries. She also became one of the first WSET centres in 2012 and now teaches the Spanish Wine Scholar and French Wine Scholar programs. A holder of the WSET 4 DipWSET and High Honours in Spanish Wine Scholar, she is passionate about her local area Ribera del Duero where she has formed close relationships with local winemakers over many a glass of Ribera del Duero wine. She is a passionate Spanish wine lover and will happily travel all over Spain and the world visiting wineries as the learning curve never stops.