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. Ironicallynamed 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.