Andres Iniesta to press ahead with wine business

FC Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta is ready to give his wine business a push into the limelight.

mg_96641Where in the 90s most footballers attempted to go into music or acting as side projects to their main careers, it seems that wine is now the way forward.

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And while Sir Alex Ferguson and Harry Redknapp have both been famed for their love of wine, it has only been recently that some have become more involved by owning vineyards.

Former Italian international Andrea Pirlo is already well acquainted with the wine world, owning the Pratum Coller vineyard outside Brescia in Italy, which produces up to 20,000 bottles of wine a year.

But now Andres Iniesta is set to become the latest classy midfielder to invest his time into the development of a fledgling wine business.

However, the World Cup winner’s brand isn’t without history or prestige as he will be the third generation of his family to take up a role within the business, having been set up by his grandfather Jose Antonio. The vineyard, which is based near Albacete, produce wines that come under the Manchuela appellation and covers 180 hectares of their own grapes.

Earlier this summer, plans were announced to give Iniesta’s wines a greater push in the UK, and with the annual Soccerex convention recently being held in Manchester, a representative of his Bodega Iniesta brand explained that a big push is now underway to establish it as a viable option among competitors.

“This is a small business, and all the family is involved in it, including Andres,” the firm’s export manager Jose Ramon Cuenca told the BBC.

“The family already owned the business before he became a successful football player, and as he has grown up he has also become involved.”

“He is from the area where the wine business is, and he has never forgotten his roots there.

“When he became a star player at Barcelona he invested a lot of his money into the business.

“This enabled the family to then start producing wines. Before that they did not make their own wines, but sold their grapes to a local co-operative.”

And Cuenca adds that the player invests more than money and his image to help with the marketing of the wine, adding: “He takes a close interest in the vineyard and winery. He spends time visiting the vineyard every summer and at Christmas time.

“If he just wanted to make a lot of money out of wine, rather than really caring about it, he could have bought a winery in Rioja, which is a better known wine region.”

The winery is also helping the local economy by employing a total of 35 people in what Cuenca describes as a “very rural area”.

“We thought that as he invests in our area we would name some wines associated with him as a means of gratitude,” he says. This has been carried out by the company naming a wine after his daughter Valeria, and another after his son Paolo Andrea.

As it stands, the winery produces around one million bottles of red, white, rosé and sparkling a year, and they are hoping to step up production to 1.2 million bottles by the end of the year. The wines are already available in 33 countries, and retail from anywhere between £6.50 to £17 (via BBC).

“In Catalonia he is respected as the captain of Barcelona, and in the rest of Spain he is respected as the guy who won the World Cup for Spain,” Cuenca concludes..

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