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Winemakers

The quality of wine has improved worldwide, and wines that were once only consumed locally are now available anywhere there is an internet connection. The change has been brought about by technological factors and the increased skills of the winemaker.

Until well into the latter half of the last century, every bodega's winemaker was usually one of the family.

Back then winemaking was not a science, more a skill arrived at by experience.

The first bodega to contract the services of a winemaker from outside the company or family is not recorded, but once the practice had started it became widespread.

As in all businesses, an outsider coming in can see things that insiders don't. Woods and trees and all that. These days it is more common to hire an outside winemaker, or oenologist, than have one in-house, unless of course the bodega is big enough to have one on the payroll.

Nevertheless, there are innumerable courses at technical colleges and universities on all aspects of agronomy.

Is better wine the result? Unquestionably.

The average age of this new breed of vintner is in the 30-40-year range, in many cases without a previous wine background.

Some are so good that there is a school of thought supporting the featuring of the oenologist's name on the wine label.

If you own a winery and appreciate that part of its current value is down to your excellent winemaker, you may decide, as is happening frequently, that making them shareholders is the only way to stop them joining the competition.