If you’re not following Clara Herrero on Instagram, you should be.
Her account is filled with informative wine-related videos from the vineyard in Rioja and epic photos of their gnarly old Grenache vines it’s essentially a free wine tutorial!
I’m honoured to have her as the first Spanish winemaker to answer my ‘Meet Your Maker’ questions.
Ten quick fire questions designed for you to get to know the people behind the wine.
CEO in Finca Vistahermosa (Vineyard and more) and winemaker of Vino Conversa
How long have you been making wine?
Can you tell us a bit about the winery and your vineyard location?
We don’t have our own winery at the moment, we make wine in a rental winery in Rioja Alavesa. Hopefully we´ll have our winery done for 2019 harvest.
Finca Vistahermosa, the vineyard, is located in El Valle de Ocón, 35 km south from Logroño in Rioja Oriental.
What varietals do you grow and which is your favorite?
We grow almost all the varieties approved in Rioja: Grenache, tempranillo, Graciano for red; Tempranillo blanco, Viura, Malvasía, Sauvignon blanc, Verdejo, Grenache blanca, Maturana blanca for white ones.
My favorite is the red grenache, because the vines are 45 years old.
El valle de Ocón is a traditional place in Rioja to grow this variety. Almost every winery that makes old style Rioja with traditional blends and made to last for years know the grenache vines from this area. This terroir is the perfect place to grow grenache.
How would you explain your wine making style?
We focus on the quality of the raw material. We think that the most important thing to make good wines is to have the best grape. If you have good grapes you can make good or bad wine with them but it´s impossible to make good wines with bad grapes.
Our growing philosophy is to manage the vineyard in a way that integrates with the environment.
How did you get into winemaking?
Well, we are a family with 5 brothers and sisters that live in Madrid. My father is from La Rioja and knew the vineyard for years and always liked it. One day he came home and said “I just bought a vineyard in La Rioja…who wants to manage it?¨I was the one that raised my hand. I had studied Forestry Engineering and was working on it, but to prepare me for the job I attended viticulture and Oenology classes in the Agronomical University in Madrid.
I also went to La Rioja for the weekends to study a Master In Viticulture, Oenology, Tasting and Winery Business Administration.
What is your desert island wine if you could only pick one wine? (Can’t be your own!)
Has to be a red wine. Not necessarily my favorite wine but maybe the one that could bring me the best memories or moments from my life. I´ve drunk so much Sierra Cantabria on so many special occasions that i’d probably choose that one.
Who do you most admire in the wine industry?
Custudio Zamarra, the best Spanish sommelier in my honest opinion.
In terms of wine making, Juan Carlos Lopez Lacalle (Artadi) and Marcos Eguren (Viñedos y Bodegas Sierra Cantabria and he owns a few wineries in Rioja and Toro)
Álvaro Palacios for being the best person in selling his wines.
Your favourite wine growing region (apart from your own!)?
One bit of advice you would give to aspiring winemakers?
For more information see:
Instagram – @claraconversa