Ricardo Arambarri is CEO and co-founder of Vintae, a young company that, in just ten years, has grouped together 40 bodegas producing wine in 15 regions and two continents. He and his partner, Raúl Acha decided to make a career locally out of winemaking. When the Vintae Group came into being at the turn of the century the partners employed unconventional methods to build one of the country's most dynamic bodega conglomerates. As Richi explains, "Sometimes the wine business is boring, so we try to communicate through avant-garde presentations and across social media.
"We wanted to be different, but we were terrified of having to deal with the classic Spanish wine consumers, the ones that love Reservas and traditional brands. We really wanted to connect with other people, mainly the younger market where there is often a problem getting wine accepted as an everyday drink."
"Spain has always had an inferiority complex," Arambarri goes on, "When I grew up we were forever seeing on TV Italian design, German technology, British engineering ... In the 80s and 90s new grape varieties arrived, so everyone started using them, instead of the old local varieties."
Ricardo and Raül make wine in Rioja, Toro, Rueda, Penedés, Bierzo, and Valdeorras; old-vine reds from Ribera del Duero, natural wines from Navarra - even a unique Rioja ice-wine. Priorities are lower alcohol levels, refreshing acidity, natural fermentation, not too much oak, and focusing on terroir. All their vineyards are organic and all the growers they buy grapes from are moving towards organic cultivation.
Some on the not-to-be missed list are: Matsu El Recio, Hacienda López de Haro, Perdida del Pirineo and the beautiful Libalis White, this last being made from what was a nearly extinct Rioja muscatel grape.