Asturias has a unique opportunity in the cultivation of the vineyard - Hoopers War

Asturias has a unique opportunity in the cultivation of the vineyard

 The trend is for fresh, low-alcohol, Atlantic wines »which can be perfectly made here thanks to tradition and the weather conditions

Raúl Pérez (Valtuille de Abajo, El Bierzo) does not have internet, he prefers to be connected to nature. The kid who studied high school in Oviedo and started Medicine with the Vega family chose to take over the family winery. Alone, in collaboration and advising, he is one of the most relevant figures in the world of wine. In fact, he has twice been named the best winemaker in the world. On Monday he will be in Oviedo invited by Exclusivas Méndez León to share his experience.

-What happened for him to stop being a book winegrower to one who lets nature flow?

-I am the son, grandson and great-grandson of winemakers. In the 90s, when I finished my studies in Oenology, I reinterpreted the work that my family had been doing, a task that went through correcting the defects of a time when treatments that were very aggressive for the vineyard and the soil were abused. I begin to respect, to promote the balance between fauna and space and to stimulate the rational cultivation of plants, which are like people in that if they eat toxic substances, they end up having sequelae. That abuse is mainly due to the abandonment of the field and the fact that people wanted not to work the vineyard, but to keep it alive; there, herbicides and systemic treatments took hold.

-Is the field being renovated?

-It is having an evolution in many aspects. The countryside of today has nothing to do with that of 40 years ago, we have many more means to facilitate the task, but the rural is still conceived as the opposite of the urban when in an hour you are in any big city … Luckily the field is recovering importance: with very little surface you can make a farm sustainable, a family can live with 8 or 10 hectares. Before, much more or complementary work was needed.

-How do you perceive climate change and how can you act?

-We see it every harvest. It is a consequence and you have to adapt.

-Is the natural trend?

-We talk about respecting the plant and here each one decides their way. What we are experiencing is that at the level of Europe and the world, certain treatments that have proven to be bad are beginning to be prohibited, I am talking about systemic herbicides. Viticulture, agriculture in general, is leading to a much more rational system; the consumer wants to eat healthier every day, of course.

-What do you think of Asturian wines?

-I am a passionate. Asturias has a unique opportunity for vineyard cultivation due to two factors: due to its oenological history, this residue is very important and has left very exclusive varieties, and due to climate change. I work in the south, where the vineyard burns for us and we have serious ripening problems. Cangas wines from 30 years ago have nothing to do with those of today: they have a highly developed viticulture and weather conditions that have helped them.

-Vines are being recovered in the downtown area and ‘Lalo’ Méndez León himself has opted for Ibias for his Siluvio winery. Is it a good time to enter?

All moments are good, the important thing is to know what you are doing. The complicated thing is not making wine, but marketing it. The number of sommeliers is increasing, generating a search for new things. This is where these historic but emerging areas have a tremendous opportunity. I’m talking about going to Hong Kong, New York or Tokyo and getting to know Asturias and its grape. The trend is fresh, low-alcohol, Atlantic wines.

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