Interview with Josep Maria Vendrell from the winery Vendrell Rived

This week, we have had the pleasure of talking with Josep Maria Vendrell, from the winery Vendrell Rived, D.O. Montsant. It was very interesting to listen to his opinion on the region’s situation.

1.    Can you please explain the origins of the winery? How did everything start?
This winery was founded in 2000. After finishing my studies on oenology in Falset and working in several wineries, I realised that I loved wine and that I was passionate for this world. In addition, I had the raw materials needed (my family’s old vines) so, with the help of my family, I started this adventure.

2.     Which is your flagship wine? What are you working at now and what future projects do you have?
Without any doubt my flagship wine (and the first I produced) is l’Alleu the one elaborated out of my best vines and the one that I consider the winery’s emblem. For several years I have been working in taking the most out of Grenache and Carignan from old vines and releasing to the market a single vineyard varietal wine of each of them.

3.    In your winemaking procedures, which are your winery’s differentiating elements with regard to others?
To be sincere, I follow quite traditional winemaking procedures. The difference is that, since my winery is quite small (20.000 kg/year) I can fuss the vines over and select the grapes grain by grain before they enter the fermentation vats.

4.    Wine culture is in constant evolution. What should a winery do to adapt to these changes and to stay alive in the market?
For example, the change that I am starting to introduce this year is to turn to organic agriculture, this is to say, with no pesticides or herbicides. So, as I have told you this year I will officially start to grow my vines in this way and I will enter the records of the CCPAE (Catalan Council for the Organic Agricultural Production). Apart from this, as I always say, it is important to understand what plants tell you in each growing stage and when you watch the vines almost daily and you have a clear idea of the final product that you want to produce, there are lots of possibilities of finding your way to it.

5.     What do you think of the situation of Spanish wine culture in the international market? What is the position of the Spanish market?
What I know best is my region (I am not aware of all macroeconomic figures) and here, we are very much appreciated in the international market. Most of the wineries of the region have widened their scope, opening new markets. What I mean is that we sell a lot in the international market and in different countries.

6.    And in the case of your winery, do you bet for the international market? Is it easier than struggling for the national market at the moment?
I have always sold a lot out of Spain (mainly in the EEUU and Switzerland) but in the last years I have also established business in the national market (most of all in Catalonia). Nowadays I export 60% of my production and 40% stays national.

Define yourself. 4 quick questions that will help us know you better:

1-    What do you prefer: red, white, rosé wine, cava or champagne?
Red wine
2-    Which is your favourite designation of origin?
Montsant, of course.
3-    What is your favourite grape variety?
Grenache
4-    A young or an aged wine?
An aged wine

And to end up, just three wine or cava recommendations. Under 10, 30 and 50 euro.

Under 10 € – Baltasar Gracián Viñas Viejas 2008 (Grenache at its utmost expression)
Under 30 € – Maduresa 2006 (Mediterranean originality)
Under 50 € – Auditori 2008 (Highly expressive and refined Grenache with personality)

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