Spain’s women in wine to watch

Veronica Remartinez


Young gun Veronica Remartinez is a star on the rise who has been busy chalking up stints at some of the top estates in Rioja, starting out under the wing of Jesus Madrazo at Contino in Rioja Alavesa.

Her next mentor was Miguel Angel de Gregorio of Finca Allende, who has done much to raise the profile of barrel-aged whites in the region. After working for a year as winemaking assistant, she moved to her current role assisting Julio Saenz at La Rioja Alta in Haro.

Her biggest challenge so far has been making both classic ageworthy Riojas and powerful modern styles from the same sub-region. “I’d love to experience one perfect vintage that allows me to make wines that leave a mark on history,” she says.

Who or what made you want to become a winemaker? While studying for an agronomical engineering degree I got the chance to work for a number of wineries in La Rioja, which encouraged me to broaden my studies and to focus on oenology. I thought that working as a winemaker would be the best job in the world and it is!

How would you describe your winemaking style? It’s very important to have maximum respect for a grape’s profile. I think a winemaker should know their vineyards perfectly and observe what the grapes can provide each year. Vinification should be based on that observation to obtain full potential of those grapes.

What is the single wine you’re most proud of so far and why? I’m currently working various wines within La Rioja Alta group with very different profiles.  At present, I’m very proud of and happy with Finca El Otero 2012.

Has it been tough getting to the top of a male dominated industry? Certainly, the wine industry, and particualrly the viticulture department, is dominated by men, so it‘s not easy for a woman to succeed in it. Fortunately, things are changing and more and more women work as winemakers and vineyard technicians.

What is the most exciting aspect of the Spanish wine industry at the moment? The diversity of wines in every region. The goal is to get the best of each region by making a wide range of wines to suit every single palate.

Desert island wine: La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 890 2004 in magnum.

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