Spanish winemaker sets new sustainable heights: Richard Esling, April 21

Beronia’s new winery in La Rioja, Spain, is a peerless architectural milestone in the winemaking world and demonstrates their non-negotiable commitment to sustainability and the environment.

Wines by Spanish winemaker Beronia
Wines by Spanish winemaker Beronia

Bodegas Beronia completed the new winery last year in Rioja, which is 100 per cent sustainable, with a further winery in the Rueda region. The wineries have been holistically designed, ensuring they leave the lightest possible footprints on their environments.

Considered a benchmark in winery design, Beronia is the first winery in Europe to have been certified by LEED (Leader in Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Design) as well as the Wineries for Climate Protection. Energy comes from solar panels and structural thermos-activation using a passive heating and cooling system that minimises energy transfer to and from the outside. Future proofing against climate change, the system can auto-correct if necessary, altering the average temperature of the barrel hall and bottle store to ensure perfect conditions.

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Nestling almost imperceptibly into the gently rolling landscape of the Rioja Alta, the green-roofed sustainable building is mostly below ground level, blending seamlessly into the hillside. Using gravity to minimise energy consumption throughout the winemaking process, it ends in the barrel hall deep underground, where the constant temperatures are ideal for ageing. The eco-friendly Rueda winery sits comfortably among the vineyards, at one with its tranquil surroundings. Huge glass windows capture maximum sunlight, while the thick, concrete walls and semi-underground construction keep temperatures cool and consistent, vital for the handling and care of the white wine made from the verdejo grape.

Beronia Verdejo 2020 is a dry, crisp, fresh, elegant wine, with aromas and flavours of white stone fruit, with hints of citrus, melon and herbs. Smooth and aromatic, a great wine for the coming summer months, on its own or with fish risotto, Caesar salad or pasta with pesto. Cunningly made from a blend of two harvests, the early one giving freshness and the later one giving riper flavours. £8.99 from Waitrose, Ocado and Sainsbury’s.

Beronia Rioja Reserva 2017 is a timeless classic. Full-bodied and structured, with supple tannins, this is a modern, complex rioja, made from mainly tempranillo grapes from 40-year-old vines, with small amounts of Graciano and Mazuelo. Aged for three years in a mix of American and French oak barrels, the wine is aged for a further three years in bottle prior to sale. Juicy black fruit is underpinned by ripe tannins and the palate has notes of dark chocolate and grilled hazelnuts, with a dash of black pepper. £14.99 from Waitrose, Ocado, Sainsbury’s and Majestic.

Sleek, modern new labels, with a silhouette of the winery on the Rioja, support the company’s laudable philosophy regarding sustainability. To complete the eco-friendly profile, even the company information sheet adds to the picture, as it is ‘plantable’, with wildflower seeds woven into the biodegradable paper. Certainly a first for me, it’s going into my allotment!

Richard Esling is a wine consultant, agent, writer and educator. He runs agency and consultancy WineWyse, is founder and principal of Sussex Wine Academy and is chairman of Arundel Wine Society