Gonzalo Gonzalo's love story with wine started like so many others have done so before. Born in
Logroño, Spain, he grew up among his parents vineyards' in Fuenmayor, Rioja Alta. Following the
family tradition, he studied oenology at the university of Rioja before completing his oenologist
training in a big industrial winery. The first turning point for Gonzalo came, however, when he
went off travelling through France and Italy where he met small vine-growers and winemakers
whose natural winemaking practices were about to change his life. Returning from his travels he left
a commercial winemaking career behind to set up his own estate. Respect to the land and natural
winemaking were at the heart of the estate's philosophy from day one.
The second major turning point in Gonzalo’s journey towards sustainable viticulture and
winemaking was the illness of his father, caused by years of daily exposure to chemical fertilizers
and herbicides while tending their vineyards in the 1970s. This influenced him profoundly
and spurred him on to fight the battle his father had lost. His first objective was to restore the
biodiversity in the vineyard lost due to chemical treatment. Rejecting modern chemical treatment,
Gonzalo has instead sought out his own methods with respect for the land, his vineyards, and the
traditions of his forefathers.
In the weeks prior to the bottling of Gran Cerdo's first vintage, young Gonzalo naively approached
the local bank for some financial help to launch the new wine. To his surprise the application was
declined on the basis that “wine is not a seizable asset”. Gonzalo eventually managed to launch
the wine without the bank's support but did not forget. Ironically named Gran Cerdo (‘big pig’ in
Spanish) the wine's back label tells his amusing take on the matter (see below).
And the wine? Made from younger Tempranillo vines, this declassified Rioja is packed with
crushed cherries, strawberries and a pleasant softness. This vibrant and juicy little natural wine is
phenomenal value and turned out to be an international success. But Gonzallo just can't sit still.
Seen by many as Rioja's "Bad Boy", Gonzalo keeps on pushing winemaking limits and is nowadays
busy forging relationships with other artistic forms such as painting, music, fashion or architecture,
in order to stimulate joint creative talent.