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An Interview with Eva Blanco of Bodegas Estefania

  • delicious Japan
  • April 25, 2024
Bodegas Estefania, established in 1999, is one of Spain's most distinguished wineries. It is helmed by Raul Pérez, a renowned "genius brewer" in the wine industry. A wine seminar recently took place in Tokyo, where Eva Blanco, the General Director of Bodegas Estefania, was invited to speak. We had an opportunity to talk with Eva and gain invaluable insights into the winery's operations.

Eva Blanco
General Director, Bodegas Estefania
Eva Blanco
General Director, Bodegas Estefania

Can you briefly introduce yourself?

My name is Eva Blanco, and I am the general director of our small vineyard, Bodegas Estefania. We strongly believe in investing in our vineyard as it is the most critical aspect of our wines. As the director, I manage the team, oversee the vineyard, maintain relationships with the administration, and ensure that our wines comply with regulations. Additionally, I am in charge of managing our relationships with international markets and commercial representatives in Spain.

Please tell us about the history of your company.

Our company was founded in 1999, and we started our journey in the milk business. However, when Spain joined the European Community, taxes were imposed, making it challenging to continue with the milk business. So, we decided to switch to the wine industry. Since we had yet to gain experience in this field, we approached Raul Perez, a young and passionate winemaker who helped us start our wine business. Over the past 20 years, we have developed our brand and bought a vineyard since growing in a small area is challenging. Recently, Raul Perez's company acquired 100% of Tilenus, and we are now a part of their company.
We are passionate about organic philosophy because we believe that Bierzo's most important aspects are its mountains, rivers, and flowers. We aim to preserve the mountains and the ancient vineyards and pass on the idea that we are custodians of the land, not real owners. After our generation, we hope people can continue enjoying the vineyards and wine.
Bierzo wines are known for their unique blend of Mencía and Godello grapes. We want people to appreciate the wine, the area's traditions, and the flavors of the Mencía and Godello. We hope to introduce a small part of our identity and knowledge about wines to the world and, in doing so, share our passion for the region.

What is the most prominent feature of your wine compared to other wineries in Bierzo?

At Bierzo, we have between 70 and 80 wineries. All the wines produced here are familiar and traditional, so our location is the main differentiating factor. Our winery is situated on a small hill at an altitude ranging between 600 and 800 in the lovely village of Pieros. It is slightly challenging to distinguish one winery from the other in Bierzo. Still, the most significant difference is our location at the top of the hill, that we are working 100% in organic agriculture, and that, fortunately, Raúl Pérez is managing the project, so we have clear goals for our wines: quality and land compromise.
Bierzo is distinct from other regions. Our soil is extremely fertile, as several rivers enrich it with minerals, mines, and nutrients, making it green and wild. Each winery in Bierzo contributes to making it a unique and diverse region with a fascinating range of offerings.

Is it your first time to introduce your wine here in Japan?

No, we have been working for more than ten years. We are a small company that cannot come here every year. Maybe it's my third time staying here, but we have always received very good feedback from the customers about the quality and singularity.

Do you have any suggestions for how to enjoy your wine?

One of the advantages of Mencia is that it can be enjoyed slightly chilled. While it's easy to enjoy chilled white wine, it's not always the case with red wine. However, Mencia can be served at 12-15 degrees, making it quite fascinating. Pairing it with meat, of course: beef, lamb, pork, or Iberic Jam, but also with meals with a bit of acid or spice touch, and fresh fatty fish is also a great option. Mencia is fruity and not dry so that these foods can pair well with red wines. As for Godello, it's very easy to drink because of its fruity, glyceric, and slightly salty taste, making it a good option for Japanese cuisine.

Please tell us your plans and the target figures for exporting your wine to Japan.

Our plans are determined by the Bierzo production cost and small production quantity. It's difficult for us to become a large company, but we aim to have a place in the best restaurants in Japan. We want people to know that our wine maintains its quality and honesty, and our customers look forward to the new vintage every year to enjoy it. Working with us pleases them, and we find that very rewarding.

Contact information for inquiries about Bodegas Estefania wines.
ZAS Co., Ltd. TEL.03-3552-5223