25.05.21

Ramon Bilbao Goes Organic: NEW Rioja Red in Co-op

Ever innovative, ever forward-thinking… Ramón Bilbao has now released its first ever fully organic wine - a direct result of the producer’s drive for sustainable viticulture in Rioja.

Haro born-and-bred, Rodolfo Bastida has been Head Winemaker at Ramón Bilbao for 22 years and knows a thing or two about the landscape he calls home.  “Organic grape growing is difficult here,” he says.  “The rainy climate and hot temperatures, plus Tempranillo’s naturally larger bunches, make the grapes more susceptible to fungus so we need to use pesticides which organic certification doesn’t allow.  Altitude helps as you get fresher air circulation, and Garnacha is far more drought resistant so fares better here too.  It’s a real balancing act, but we’re getting better at it because organic vineyards have been increasing here by 22% year-on-year as we all learn more about our land and its possibilities.”

Sustainability has been a priority for Ramón Bilbao for some years now, and they were the first Spanish winery to sign up to the Wineries for Climate Protection scheme in 2017.  Organic production has long been on the innovation list and became possible because of their precision viticulture programme: by combining data from weather stations and drones with in-house knowledge, the winemaking team could pinpoint vineyards needing fewer, or even no, treatments which were ripe for organic farming.

As Rodolfo says, this is “a step forward on the path to becoming a conscious company and taking responsibility for the impact we leave on the planet.”

 

Ramón Bilbao Organic Red 2019, Rioja                                                                                    RRP £10, Co-op
ABV 13.5%

This Rioja red is a blend of 80% Tempranillo from suitable plots throughout Rioja, with 20% Garnacha from Ramón Bilbao vineyards at 600m altitude in Monte Yerga in Rioja Oriental where this higher altitude not only gives a fresher flavour to the wine but also means easier fungus control and less need for chemical treatments.

Rodolfo says that 2019 was “memorable” - hot, dry and very mild at the end of autumn and beginning of winter with a frost in April that reduced the yield.  After de-stemming at the winery, the grapes underwent alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel at 26ºC.  Following malolactic fermentation the wine was racked to American oak barrels and aged for eight months.  The result is fruit-driven, modern style of Rioja with balanced acidity and medium body - great with pasta, or even grilled fish.

AND NOW!!!!   All Ramón Bilbao labels on all products state:

  • that the wines are vegan (they always have been)
  • that Ramón Bilbao is a member of the Wineries for Climate Protection programme