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.
Are you ready to dive into one of the world’s greatest wine-producing countries? If so, our next Spanish Wine Scholar Instructor-Led course is about to start, and we would love to have you join us! If you still aren’t sure, then take a look at these ten reasons why you should be studying Spanish wine.
Lisa's Pick: A “must-view” for wine lovers intending to hike the Camino; visually stunning and inspiring.
In the fall of 2019, Wine Scholar Guild member, Bill “Papi” Sanders from Nashville, Tennessee walked the 790 km/500 mile Camino Frances (French Way) route of the El Camino de Santiago. Being 65 years young at the time, he carried only what could be stuffed in his 36-liter backpack. For over 1,000 years, folks have been making the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Northwest Spain where it is believed the remains of Jesus Christ’s apostle Saint James are interred. In addition to its spiritual significance, it’s no coincidence that the “Way of St. James” passes through some of Spain’s oldest and most famous wine regions. Bill will share his experiences and discuss the wines on, perhaps, the most unique, inspirational, and demanding food and wine adventure on earth. His journey begins in Paris drinking grower Champagne before embarking on his 35-day journey across the Pyrenes and through the Spanish regions of Navarra, Rioja, Castillo y León, and Galicia. Pour yourself a glass of Albariño or Rioja and join Bill’s trek.
In March 2005, Bill finished third in a professional olive oil tasting course at the University of California-Davis’ Olive Oil Center. Upon conclusion of the course, he drove to Napa for some winery touring where he began to consider learning to taste wine. After all, wine had to be more fun than olive oil. It wasn’t long before he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America-Greystone Professional Wine Studies Program where he completed programs in Mastering Wine I & II and Wines of Spain (sparking a dream of walking El Camino de Santiago).
His passion for wine earned him a master’s certificate in the Rhone and Provence regions from the Wine Scholar Guild. In 2010, he chaired the French Wine Society’s (Wine Scholar Guild) annual three-day conference held at the French Embassy in Washington, DC. Additionally, He has traveled extensively to the great wine and olive oil regions of Europe and the U.S., authored an olive oil, wine and food blog Crush+Press, and is a frequent attendee of the International Pinot Noir Celebration in Oregon. Bill has been involved in the international olive oil industry for over 20 years.
In 2019, Bill fulfilled his dream of walking the 500-mile Camino Francés route of the ancient El Camino de Santiago. Today, Bill resides in Nashville, Tennessee where he is teaching his three grand-kiddos the ways of the world.
Garnacha (Grenache) is increasingly capturing the attention of wine enthusiasts around the world for its approachability, versatility and quality. As the variety continues to make its mark on the world wine scene, Spanish producers continue to innovate with a wide range of styles. Master of Wine Pedro Ballesteros Torres will lead us in a deep dive into Garnacha, covering varietal characteristics, the impact and importance of terroir in different producing regions, and winemaking trends with a specific look at Spain and the variety’s birthplace, Aragón.
Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW holds an Agronomical Engineer degree and a Master’s in Viticulture and Oenology. He received the WSET Diploma with distinction and became Master of Wine on the first try in 2010. Pedro also studied around the world, including in the wine regions of Jerez, Rheingau, Burgundy, Napa and Bordeaux. A columnist at several papers and magazines in Spain and Belgium, he also regularly writes for wine magazines in the UK and Italy. Pedro works in four languages. He is also a chair in major international wine competitions, including Decanter's WWA, Vinitaly's 5Stars, Concour Mondial Bruxelles, Bacchus and others.
Pedro is active in the fields of promotion and education and sits in the Council of the Institute of Masters of Wine, the governing board of the Spanish Taster Union, the Board of the International Federation of Wine Journalists, the Basque Culinary Centre's Wine Committee, as well as other institutions. He is also a national expert for Spain at OIV and a member of Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino.