Fabio Bartolomei was once again in Piazza Angelio holding up a bottle of his organic white wine grown and bottled in Spain and presented for the second time here in Barga at an informal wine tasting session at the enoteca Colordivino.
As you can hear in the interview (in Italiano) at the end of this article his project of growing and producing organic wine in Spain just keeps on growing and judging by the comments of the people present at the wine tasting this afternoon, the final product gets better and better.
Vinos Ambiz (Producers of natural, organic, healthful, sustainable wine (Madrid, Spain) – Organic vineyard, winery and natural wine company.
From their website we read: We practice sustainable viticulture, and make natural, authentic, good quality wines. We improve the fertility of the soil, and we recycle our bottles and as many other materials as we can.
Vinos Ambiz was started over 8 years ago (in 2003) by Fabio and Juan. To date, we still have our days jobs and when we are not working in the vineyard or winery, Juan does agricultural and gardening jobs in the Tajuña valley and Fabio works as a translator in Madrid.
2004/5. The first year we had a mere 250 vines of white Airén grapes in Carabaña and a ‘place’ in Tielmes. We made about 600 bottles if I remember rightly. The place we used as a winery was actually a house excavated into the side of a hill. The first two rooms on either side of the front door had windows, but the rest was completely underground. The good thing about it was that the temperature was a constant 17-18ºC all year round. The bad thing about it was that it was about 100 yds from the nearest road, and uphill, and we had to carry the cases of grapes by hand. The worst thing about it was that the neighbour kept 6 vicious barking hunting dogs chained up on either side of the path; and the length of their chains was just so that there was a narrow, narrow strip in the middle of the path where you were safe from their snapping jaws.
2005/6. The second year we had the same vineyard, but (thankfully) we moved to a house-cave in Perales, a village about 10 km from the vineyard. This was also a house excavated into the side of a hill, but with major differences. It was right in the centre of the village, so there was access by van right up to the front door; there was no neighbour with dogs. The temperature was also a constant 17-18ºC all year round. The first two rooms nearest the fron door were normal rooms and that’s where we set up the crusher and press and kept all our stuff. The rest of the cave was a long 100 m tunnel that bore straight into the hill, and off this tunnel were little niches, where we set up the fermentation tanks, one per niche.
2006/7. The third year we expanded the vineyard to 1200 vines (70% Airén, 30% Tempranillo) in Carabaña and moved bodega to Ambite, another village also about 10 km from the vineyard but in the other direction. This time it was an abandoned cow-shed! It took us about a month to clean it and paint it with whitewash, and to clean it and whitewash it again! This was the first year that we made red wine.
2007/8. The fourth year was the same as the third, in that we stayed in the same bodega and didn’t take on any new wineyards.
2008/9. The fifth year we took on a second much larger vineyard in Ambite, with about 12 acres of Tempranillo and 6 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, but we had to abandon it after a year
Basically, our main goal at Vinos Ambiz is to produce excellent, high-quality, unadulterated, natural and healthful wines that look, smell and taste good; and that express the terroir of where they’re from; and that are made in a way that is actively beneficial both to our customers’ health and to the environment; and that are sensibly priced. And all the other goals are derived from that!
As we grow our own grapes AND make our own wine, we have two main areas or groups of activities that are important to quality of the final product: 1) farming in the vineyard and 2) winemaking in the winery.
2009/10 The sixth year was the same as the fifth.
2010/11. The seventh year (this one) we’ve taken on a new vineyard in Villarejoand we are sharing a ‘real’ winery in Morata de Tajuña.
Basically, we are getting ready to take the plunge one day, and work in Vinos Ambiz 100%. We are now in the process of looking for financing and/or investors to enable us to reach an economically viable critical size.
It’s taken us a long time to get to where we are today, and depending on which way you look at it, it’s either not much to write home about, or a huge achievement to be proud of!
(c) RIPRODUZIONE RISERVATA