Nemesio de Lara has highlighted the trajectory of the eight laureates of the "Una vida dedicada al vino" (A Life Dedicated to Wine) Awards
The Tomelloso born painter Antonio López, the national football team's manager, Vicente del Bosque and the journalist Paco García Caridad have been acclaimed by FENAVIN's organization as Ambassadors of Wine during the ceremony in which national and international prizes have been bestowed on outstanding winery producers, importers and distributors that accredit "A Life Dedicated to Wine." All of them have been congratulated by the President of the Provincial Government and of the National Trade Fair on wine, Nemesio de Lara, who was accompanied by the Institutional Coordinator and Director of the event, Manuel Juliá, who showed himself to be very satisfied, because all the laureates have, respectively, contributed to creating and developing more quality in the sector, as well as promoting the sector that is also in need of support from the world of sports, art and communication.
Nemesio de Lara has highlighted the important trajectory of all the laureates. His speech has been extremely brief because most of the laureates had to catch the AVE train to Madrid. "You are the real stars of the show, and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. This is a happy day for FENAVIN and for Ciudad Real, distinguished as we are by your company, although unfortunately we must lament the tragedy in Murcia and express our condolences to the families and friends of those killed in the deadly earthquake that struck Lorca. Hopefully there will never be any more tragedies in Spain," he said before offering a round of applause in solidarity with their families and friends.
The "2011 A Life Dedicated to Wine" Award Ceremony, hosted at the National Trade Fair on Wine, paid tribute to the trajectories of the winery producers Alfonso Monsalve, of Vinícola de Castilla (Manzanares) and Doroteo Navarro, of Bodegas Navarro López (Valdepeñas), as well as to the impresario Alfonso Cortina and the consultant Juan Antonio Mompó.
Alfonso Monsalve has been the Director-Manager and Chief Executive Officer of Vínicola de Castilla since the year 1982. In 1983 he became one of the company's shareholders, with another five persons later on also becoming shareholders of the company. In the year 2010 Vínicola de Castilla was producing seventeen different grape varieties, including all the processes involved, ageing, organic wines, sparkling wines, sweet wines, grape marc liqueurs, etc. The winery has undergone an important transformation under Monsalve's direction, including an excellent technical fitting-out that has covered both the vineyards and labels. Monsalve also participates in wine associations such as FEVIN (Regional Federation of Wine, Alcohol and Grape Juice Producers), La Mancha Designation of Origin Regulation Council and other professional associations such as CEOE-Cepyme (Spanish Confederation of Employers' Associations-Spanish Confederation of Small and Medium Sized Companies).
On his part Doroteo Navarro is the President of 'Navarro López', one of the most modern and successful wineries of Valdepeñas. The company was actually founded in the year 1904, with Doroteo Navarro carrying out the necessary reorganization in the decade of the eighties, hence consolidating the project and turning the company into an entirely family-run enterprise. The winery's operation currently covers 150 hectares of vineyard, with its facilities reaching a total surface space of 12,000 square meters. It distributes its labels Don Aurelio, Castillo San Carlos and Premium 1904 worldwide to more than thirty countries, with all these labels having obtained important awards.
The impresario Alfonso Cortina, who is also the President of the winery Pago de Vallegarcía, is an Industrial Engineer and Economics and Business Management Graduate and he currently holds several posts in diverse national and international companies. Pago de Vallegarcía, which is one of his most personal projects and the one that he pampers the most, is located right in the heart of the Montes de Toledo, in the area of influence of the National Cabañeros Park and its wines, which are produced with the winery's own grapes, are highly recognized in the world of wine.
Juan Antonio Mompó Gimeno represents the fourth generation of a family that has always been dedicated to the wine sector. Graduate of Law, he has carried out his entire professional career at Bodegas Vinival, leading Spanish wine export company, where he started with financial administrative tasks to then gradually take on more responsibilities, becoming the company's Director General in just a few years. Vinival was first acquired by the Bodegas y Bebidas Group, after which it was taken over by the English multinational company Allied Domecq and Pernod Ricard, with Juan Antonio Mompó holding different positions of responsibility until the year 2009, when he left the company. Mompó has also been a member of the Valencia Designation of Origin Regulation Council.
Alfonso Monsalve thanked FENAVIN for the distinction. He then commented that wine requires great effort, although one does finally end up loving it. "Which is exactly what I recommend that you all do, you must all love wine," he said.
Alfonso Cortina then commented that years ago they started working on a project that, among other reasons, is now a reality thanks to the magnificent team that is behind it. He affirmed that he is proud of his winery, underscoring that the world of wine has a very special appeal to it. "When you are lucky enough to export to every last corner of the world from a place where years ago there was absolutely nothing, this is indeed a reason to be filled with pride," he added.
Juan Antonio Mompó stated that the sector has changed in great measure in the last ten years. "Now there is a new generation, which is very well well-educated and highly-trained, and I do believe in this community's future in the wine sector, as I likewise believe in the future of Spanish wine," he explained.
Doroteo Navarro also thanked FENAVIN for the award, dedicating it to his family and all the persons that work with him. "I would first of all like to thank FENAVIN, and then say that this award must serve to make an assessment of the situation that must take shape one day at a time, achieved by making a lot of sacrifices, which is what in the end allows us to obtain these awards," he specified.
Although not quite as well known on the national scene, the laureates this year are considered referents in the distribution and promotion of Spanish wines. This is the case with Michéle van den Bossche, first businesswoman dedicated to importing Spanish wines to Belgium. With 'La Riojana', which was founded over thirty years ago, she has managed to find a niche as a client of wineries producing quality wines pertaining to all the Designations of Origin. 'La Riojana' was one of the first importers to participate at FENAVIN, more than ten years ago now, the same with the goal of opening up future paths with the participating wineries.
Hailing from Japan, Chieko Konagaya is a market analyst for the Economic and Commercial Office of the Spanish Embassy in Tokyo and she is also the representative for promotion of Spanish wines on the Japanese market. Chieko represents a referent in commercialization of Spanish wines in Japan, covering both the Japanese distribution channels, as well as offering support to those Spanish wineries that want to enter this select market. She learned Spanish in Salamanca, and she absolutely loves Spain, enjoying wine and sharing the moments it gives rise to ever since.
Nicolás Burridge (1934) is an importer and distributor of Spanish wine in the United Kingdom. He is married to a Spanish woman and he is hopelessly in love with our country, its culture, food and wine. When he celebrated his fiftieth birthday he had the opportunity to become an importer of Spanish wines, hence founding Burridges of Arlington Street, the same with the goal of finding and importing premium quality wines, manufactured with native grape varieties from Spain's diverse wine regions. At the beginning he received support from Wines from Spain and his company gradually started to have an impact. In the year 1991 his daughter Teresa joined the company and as of then both the interest in Spanish wines and sales of the same started to really flourish and grow. He has traveled the length and breadth of the United Kingdom in order to make the gospel of Spanish wine known to all in trade fairs, tasting sessions and dinners, promoting interest in Spanish wine and bringing groups of people from the United Kingdom to Spain in order to visit wineries throughout the country.
Now the case of Rol Freund (Trossingen, 1942) is truly a curious one, as he enjoys studies in archeology, philology and economics and science, yet in the year 1981 he decided to introduce himself in the world of wine with the opening of a small establishment specialized in wine and food products, three years later founding a wholesale business covering wine and gourmet products (Weinkontor Freund GmbH), first importing Italian products and in 1990 opening up a broad range of Spanish wines to which Portuguese and French wines were later added.
The organization has thanked Chieko Konagaya for coming to FENAVIN, despite the extremely difficult moment that her country is enduring as a consequence of the tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis. The institutional representatives of the ceremony, Nemesio de Lara and Manuel Juliá, along with José Ribagorda, editor of Tele 5's weekend news and María José Cubero, in representation of FENAVIN's organization, all expressed the affection and respect of all those that make this important trade fair possible. On her part Chieko Konagaya pointed out that Spanish wine was completely unknown in Japan twenty years ago. "Now we know that there is wine in Spain and that it is producing premium quality wine. And the word is now spreading in my country," she affirmed.
Michéle Van Den Bossche explained that Belgium wants good wine and they are quite aware that things are really cooking in Spain in this sense, therefore, there is no doubt about it, Spanish wines are showing up on their tables.
Nicolás Burridge also affirmed that he was very pleased with the award. Notwithstanding, he indicated that it is only fair that he share the award with his daughter and son, who have been working side-by-side with him for twenty years in the case of his daughter, and for seven years now in the case of his son.
Finally, Rol Freund recalled that when he decided to import Spanish wines to Germany, everybody told him that it was not a wise decision. However, he decided to put interest in the Spanish market, thanks to which they were privy to a "small miracle", verifying as they did the tremendous change that came to be in all of the country's wineries, in particular in that pertaining to quality. "There has been an astounding improvement and German consumers have realized this. It really makes me happy to see that Spanish wines are gaining in importance in Germany, reason why I want to thank all those who have contributed to the success and improvement of Spanish wine," he concluded.
Ambassadors of Wine
All these ambassadors of wine are in their element when brushes, balls, needles or Hertzian waves are surrounding them, as they are veritable masters in these arts. However, when dealing with wine, what they can actually be considered is great enthusiasts and lovers of the product and of its culture. They always highlight the qualities and excellences of wine whenever they have the opportunity, which is what turns them into great and true emissaries and ambassadors of FENAVIN 2011.
Antonio López (Tomelloso, 1936) is known for his extremely realistic style. López has obtained numerous awards, amongst which the 1985 Prince of Asturias Award and the 2006 Velázquez Plastic Arts Award are to be highlighted, yet his knowledge of the wine world started early in his childhood, maintaining and enriching this relationship throughout his lifetime. Antonio López, who is also a sculptor, has made a portrait of the Royal Family, members of which truly admire the Tomelloso born artist.
The King has also spoken of his adoration for the national team's football manager, Vicente del Bosque (Salamanca, 1950), who was just recently named Marquis of Del Bosque after winning Spain's first ever World Football Cup in South Africa. Apart from the World Cup, Vicente del Bosque can also boast two UEFA Champions League titles and two national league titles, the latter with the Real Madrid Football Club. He was named Honoris Causa by the University of Castilla-La Mancha. Vicente del Bosque also participated in the presentation of FENAVIN in Madrid, where he admitted that he truly enjoys wine every time he consumes it and that it is very good for health, but always in moderation, also mentioning that 'La Roja' (Spanish national football team's nickname, The Red) quite surely toasted their victory in the World Cup with a glass of wine. Wine is the only alcoholic beverage that football players are allowed to drink.
Finally, the journalist Paco García Caridad, who is currently the Director of Radio Marca, leading radio station that only covers sporting events. García Caridad is a referent in Spain's world of sports journalism.
Paco García Caridad thanked FENAVIN for the recognition, before affirming that he is absolutely in love with wine. "Wine changed my life, because it has helped me to really find a vocation for coexistence," he said, to then add that he has indeed attempted to try the products made by these great winemakers and impresarios -referring to the laureates. Later on he also added that he always tries to transmit the virtues of wine, both in private and in public, "as it truly is a symbol of friendship and of life."
On his part Vicente del Bosque specified that they are now working hard on qualifying for the European Football Championship. "Football and sports create close bonds, in particular when enjoying a good meal together, as is likewise the case with wine. Some football players have invested in the world of wine. Right now there is a high level of competition between them, because quality is very good and there is a vast amount of wine," the national manager said, likewise congratulating the FC Barcelona, as mathematically it has already won the national league.
The worldwide-celebrated painter Antonio López is from Tomelloso, wine city par excellence. In his brief speech, in which he thanked FENAVIN for appointing him Ambassador of Wine, he corroborated this fact. "My first memories are related with wine and wheat," he recalled, before assuring that the painter who has best represented wine was Caravaggio, who quite frequently depicted Baco in his paintings holding a fabulous glass of wine," he said. He also mentioned that the first painting he ever made, under the tutorship of his uncle Antonio, was precisely a glass of wine. With regards to the situation of La Mancha wines in the world, he assured that "what the people of La Mancha have done to ensure that wines reach the quality they now have is truly admirable."
All the laureates were received at the ceremony by mime clowns who in turn were inspired by the world of wine, with the ceremony then being followed-up by a Flamenco show and by the national and international award ceremony 'Una vida dedicada al vino' (A Life Dedicated to Wine). The appointment of the four new Ambassadors of Wine was the spectacular finale to the event.
The artistic part of the evening was coordinated by Miguel Muñoz de Morales, with the high point of the event resting on the shoulders of the international mime and gestual theatre clown José Piris, disciple of Marcel Marceau, who along with his Gestual Theatre Company "Mimox" performed different sketches in collaboration with diverse members of the "Noveau Colombier" International Center.
Flamenco also had its moment during the evening of recognitions, in this case with the company of the well-known "bailaor" Fran Vílchez, who presented his show "Temple Flamenco" with which he has reaped in much critical and public acclaim. "Temple Flamenco" is formed by a series of flamenco "palos" (styles or dances) that sort of blend into each other, giving rise to a very special and particular stage and choreographic energy, bringing together modernity and tradition in equal parts.
The artistic evening reached its end with a surprise fusion-show by José Piris and his Company, accompanied by the art of flamenco performed by Fran Vílchez's Company.