Lately at Artadi life is a bit difficult … David against Goliath.
What for Juan Carlos López de La Calle, the owner of Artadi, and his famlie confront with political problems, paperwork and legal proceedings?
It seems logical that a small winemaker like he who has very solid criteria and values, dos not always agree with all conditions and requirements, and sometimes distant from these, even if he has previously tried in various ways to reach a consensus, in order to continue to move forward, which is so important in these times. But unfortunately this was not possible …
For 15 years, he tries to explain that there is not just only “one” Rioja: We are talking about 16,000 winegrowers, countless villages, different landscapes, properties, plots, “Crus” …,
But the Regulating Council does not want to accept that there are different styles, qualities and identifications. Isn’t there any interest to classify them differently?
Apparently not: A total of 15 multinational companies (which are no winemaker) control the decisions of the Regulating Council, because these companies sell 85% of the annual production (500 million bottles). In 1990, it had still been 80-90 million bottles. An excessively large growth in which all that matters is the profit, and where criteria such as origin (terroir), identity, personality and differentiation are not taken into account. And it continues like this, because each year 1,800 hectares of vineyards are newly authorized. In 3 years, 150 million bottles will then additionally be produced under this denomination of origin!
When it is only important to produce more rather than better, then it is understandable that many winemakers want a change.
We think there should be a similar classification as in Burgundy, where the villages are the reference for the quality and personality, and where they are distinguished through the different “Crus”.
In Spain there are 70 denominations of origin. In France 400, and in Italy 500!
Would it not be better to introduce this more detailed classification also at a such prestigious brand like the Rioja?
So the Bodega Artadi leaves the denomination of origin Rioja, Juan Carlos and his family take the responsibility to assume these changes, in order to maintain the values with which they identify themselves, and we, within the world of wine, support them hereby.
A little bit sad because of this decision he had to make, but at the same time very excited with the new challenge they have to face. This decision is certainly constructive for Artadi, La Rioja and Spain. He says: “Differentiation is the beginning of uniqueness”.
This is not about politics or money, but environmental, oenological and cultural criteria in viticulture.
Dear Juan Carlos, we find that in spite of everything you will always belong to an origin, a terroir. No Regulating Council can take that away from you. And please keep producing these exceptional wines. Regarding the sale … well, we will take care of that!