Monday, 22 July 2013

Sales and Marketing Trip to Rioja: Bodegas Remírez de Ganuza

6am starts are never easy but a few coffees later and we were already looking forward to a great trip to Rioja! This time the whole sales and marketing teams were in full force and looking forward to the first winery - our new agency Bodegas Remírez de Ganuza. Fernando and Luis were absolutely fantastic hosts and took us straight to where it all starts – the vineyards! 

Remirez have 88 ha in total spread over 120 plots in 5 different villages. The average vine age is 45 year old and most of the soil is made up of limestone/clay. 

Sierra de Cantabria
 The vines are “en vaso”, at a density of 2300vines/ha, and have strong trellising to protect them against the winds coming from the Sierra de Cantabria to the north. 

An interesting method they use for some vines is that they strip the vine back to bark with a wire brush to protect against the ciletrechus disease that can eat the vine from within. Remirez have also started experimenting with biodynamics and have 6ha they are trying out. 

Stripped bark
The winery itself is set in the beautiful village Sanmiego and is not only where they make the wine, but is also Fernando's home, equipped with a swimming pool! (if only we had known...)

Winery and Fernando's home
Grape sorting at Remirez is a very serious stage in the winemaking process and Fernando commissioned a specialised sorting mechanism that allows 5 different stages to sorting to enable only the most perfect grapes through.

 The winery has 3 fermentation rooms where they have various types of tank, developed especially for Remirez. The first tanks are 7000l and are cooled by natural spring water that is released at the top and runs down the outside of the tanks, caught by a lip at the bottom.

The next tanks are conical-shaped and are used to filter out the grape skins at the same time.

The barrel rooms were the cleanest barrel rooms any of us had ever seen - not a drop of red wine stain in sight! The barrels are beautifully maintained and pristine.

Tasting wine in situ is always a special occasion and so as we swished and swirled our glasses and found it very hard to spit anything out (mainly Jason...), Fernando exuded enthusiasm and passion about his philosophy and experience of over 20 years. 

Back to the hotel (just across the road!), and a gourmet meal followed by more wine, including a magnum of 1994.

As the night wore on and the wine flowed, conversation soon turned into singing in the open air. Fernando with his guitar and the team singing along in unison (well Alex anyway...) What a great night! 

9am the next morning and an early morning bike ride to wash away the cobwebs, well not for the 2 regional boys who "failed to set their alarm properly". The views were incredible and the air as fresh as a daisy. There is something very magical about riding through vineyards on a bicycle - it was definitely worth getting up early for.

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