Spain has undergone a wine revolution in recent years. Today the country offers an exceptional diversity of wines, made by dynamic and talented winemakers, reflecting the varied terroirs. The wines are winning international recognition for their quality and individuality. Given this environment, the Spanish Wine Academy has been created by Ramón Bilbao to act as the go-to resource for wine lovers and wine professionals worldwide who want to learn more about premium Spanish wine, and consolidate their knowledge.
From grape to glass – from grape variety, though vine growing and winemaking, and to enjoying wine and food matching – there is experienced guidance. With 96 DOPs, and another 42 IGPs, it is a complex map. As Rodolfo Bastida, the director of wine at Ramón Bilbao, says: ‘The fascination of Spanish wine is in this very diversity. In one country we can produce pure, vivid, Atlantic Albariños, and at the same time supple, aromatic Riojas.’
The Spanish Wine Academy was established to bring together international experts to host masterclasses and present educational videos to point the way. Overall, through international tastings of premium Spanish wines, and online activities, bootcamps, and a training test, it is designed to deliver an up-to-date digital platform. Wine lovers and wine experts will find the site invaluable. For wine lovers it’s a direct way to listen to and learn from the experts, in your own time, by means of the downloadable materials – perhaps with a glass of your favourite Rioja or Rueda in hand.
For wine professionals – sommeliers, wine buyers, retailers, and those busy studying for wine exams – it is a way to continue to update your knowledge of what is happening in the world of Spain’s premium wines. It is a field that is constantly changing, and the Spanish Wine Academy keeps up with the trends. At a time when there are fewer opportunities to travel and to learn in face-to-face classes and seminars, the Spanish Wine Academy ensures that you can keep your knowledge fresh and relevant.
Among the expert professionals on the site sharing their knowledge on the Spanish Wine Academy are Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW, who introduces the profound influence of Spain’s landscape on its wines; David Williams, of The Observer, discussing the influence of altitude on the wines; Natasha Hughes MW who reveals the stylistic differences between the country’s rosados; and Susy Atkins of the Sunday Telegraph and Delicious magazine who makes a tour of the peninsula’s key wine regions.
Understanding wine is key to its enjoyment, hence food-matching expert and Guardian columnist Fiona Beckett chooses some of her favourite matches. Also dip into the website for interviews with Amaya Cervera, of the award-winning wine website www.spanishwinelover.com, and with winemakers Sara Bañuelos, Verdejo producer from Rueda, and Isabel Galindo, Garnacha producer from Las Moradas de San Martín, Madrid.
The role of the Spanish Wine Academy is to provide an accessible, informed resource for consumers and wine professionals everywhere to learn from acknowledged experts in their fields. However improved wine education and communication of this kind also offers a real benefit to wine producers themselves. Says Bastida: ‘The more we understand about our vines and their ecosystems, and the more we transmit this knowledge to consumers, then the more demanding the entire cycle becomes at every level. This helps us make better, more transcendent wines, with even greater attention to detail.’
Spanish Wine Academy from Ramón Bilbao
A note from our sponsor
Established in Haro in the heart of Rioja Alta in 1924, Ramón Bilbao today sources grapes from 180ha of its own vineyards, with access to a further 900ha through long-term contracts with growers. The appointment of Rodolfo Bastida as head winemaker in 1999 marked a new era in the company’s history: Rioja born-and-bred, Bastida believes that the grapes he selects should speak for themselves in his wines, and not be hidden by over-ageing and over-oaking. The purchase of a ‘dream parcel’ of vines high in the Yerga mountains in the eastern part of Rioja gave Bastida and Ramón Bilbao its first vineyard in Rioja Oriental. The first release in 2016 was the Lalomba Rosado.
According to statistics from Nielsen, Ramón Bilbao is currently the best-selling brand (with appellation) in the Spanish on-trade, and is one of the fastest growing Rioja brands in the off-trade (+29%) in its competitive set. The producer has been owned by Zamora Company, one of the largest family beverage companies in Spain, since 1999 and is distributed by Enotria&Coe in the UK.
Discover how Spanish wine is revolutionising the international market: visit www.decanter.com/swa for our series of videos and articles on the world of Spanish wine.