González Byass acquires Fournier winery in Ribera del Duero

Spanish drinks giant González Byass has acquired a winery in northern appellation Ribera del Duero.

González Byass has bought the Fournier winery in Ribera del Duero, an acquisition the company said will “strengthen its position as a key player on the Spanish wine scene.”

The DO of Ribera del Duero has a reputation for producing premium wines, typically reds made mainly from Tempranillo grape. The DO represents roughly 16% of Spain’s domestic red wine production.

Around 80% of the grapes are still picked by hand in the region, which recorded a total of 8,224 wine growers and 315 wineries in the 2018 harvest.

Gonzalez Byass owns wineries in 10 of Spain’s most significant appellations including Jerez, Rioja, Cádiz, Cava, Penedés, Rueda, Somontano, Castilla, Rías Baixas and Ribera del Duero, as well as operating estates in Chile and Mexico.

The latest purchase includes both Fournier’s winery and vineyards, which are located in La Finca El Pinar. The property, which began operating as a winery in 1979, comprises of 80 hectares, of which 50 are vineyards. The average age of the vines is 30 years, although some strains have been growing for 70 years.

During the last harvest in 2018, Ribera del Duero saw volumes rise to its second highest level, as the region recovered from disastrous weather the year before, which slashed yields by more than 60%. Around 125m kilo of grapes were picked between the middle of September and the end of October, according to The Consejo Regulador de la Denominación de Origen Ribera del Duero.

González Byass is not the only business purchasing land in the region. Marqués de Caceres Group opened Bodegas Finca la Capilla in the Ribera del Duero last month. The vineyard was described as “extreme” by the group, sitting at an altitude of 800m, with “severely harsh and cold winters and very hot and dry summers”.

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