Food & Drink Awards 2019 Page 71 A good wine doesn’t come about by accident. It is crafted into being, coaxed into life. A fine wine takes patience, care and attention, in a process that takes years to perfect. In the rolling hills of northern Spain, Bodegas Valduero produces only the very finest wine, perfectly rounded and aged to perfection. We caught up with Bodegas Valduero’s owner, Carolina Garcia Viadero to find out more. Bodegas Valduero: Leaders in Traditional Viticulture 2019 - Castile and León & Best Family-Run Winery for Premium Vintage Wines 2019 - Castile and León Serving 45 countries for over thirty years, Bodegas Valduero has always had an eye on the way that it used to be done. Using the unique properties of the grapes in the region, with a strong sense of terroir in its character, Valduero has grown to be one of the most exciting wineries in the country. Gathering the attention of wine aficionados across the world, including companies like Hitachi and Ferrari and high-profile figures like author Ken Follett or guitarist Mark Knopfler, all eyes are justifiably on Valduero. We asked Carolina what the secret of excellent wine-making is. ‘There are many processes involved,’ he explains. ‘Everything starts in the land, which is our most important asset. We strive to produce grape under the most natural conditions, and we don’t release wine to the market every year, only when the vintage is exceptional. Then, we leave the wines slowly mature for a minimum of three years, sometimes up to 30 years! Wine is only released when it is perfectly round and ready to be enjoyed.’ This astonishing attention to detail means that nothing substandard is allowed out of the winery. The result is a beautifully rounded wine, with the process of transforming grapes into wine more a labour of love than a simple job. ‘About 60% of our team have been working with us for more than ten years,’ Carolina admits. ‘Cycles are long in our sector and we need people for at least five years, to understand the processes.’ It requires a special sort of passion to commit yourself for five years to producing even the most exquisite wine. When we asked Carolina about this, she was keen to explain what drove her onward. ‘Definitely passion for what you do,’ she enthuses. ‘A firm determination that you will go on, no matter anything, giving your best every day.’ It’s clear that the care and discernment encouraged by those at Valduero is incred- ibly demanding, but the results speak for themselves. This enthusiasm has resulted in exciting new developments for Valduero, with the winery being the first to produce a white wine in the region. Today, the team are looking to capitalise on this with a range of delectable aged wines that are produced from the indigenous grape variety, albillo and experiments with extremely long agings. Alongside these new developments, the pro- duction of these aged, vintage wines that put Valduero on the map involves looking back to how wine was made in the past. ‘We don’t stop exploring ancient ways of vinification and implementing them when appropriate,’ Carolina tells us. ‘In this sense, our work is more like that of an archaeologist.’ Certainly, the use of amphora, in similar style to the ancient Greeks and Romans, the artisanal methods and the fermentation in oak barrels leaves no doubt as to the traditions of wine-making that infuse Valduero with its charm and warmth. An immense amount of care and discern- ment that goes into each barrel of Valduero’s excellent vintages, each stored underground until the flavour is guaranteed. All wineries are a labour of love, but the artisan’s finish lifts Valduero’s above the rest. A treat to be savoured. Contact: Alfonso Gonzalez Company: Bodegas Valduero Web Address: Telephone: 34 947 545459