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Know how to communicate it and spread the word

Marianne Fernandez finds out more about Dominio de la Vega, a cava producer prominent in Belgium and Holland

Alejandro Martín Dominio de la Vega

What are the defining elements at Dominio de la Vega?

We take pride of our ancestral viticultural heritage, the authenticity of our grapes and focus on the essence of making an honest and singular wine.

Who are your main clients? Who do you mainly export to? Could you walk us through the different markets per product, especially cava?

Our main clients for cava are Belgium and Holland, and for the past few years it has been Spanish speaking South American countries. For our still wine, but partially also our cavas, the Asian markets have had an increasing interest, especially China, Japan and South Korea. We are now seeing a rise of cava consumption from many different levels, from very young cavas to cavas reservas and in more mature markets as well as emerging and newer markets. This clearly shows the versatility that cava has when it comes to immersing itself in a greater sales market.

What is your method of production for cava?

Our method of production and that of all producers in the DOP Cava regions is the traditional method which is a mandatory process, similar to the méthode champenoise. The difference with Cava however is that Cava requires a minimum of nine months of ageing on its lees, in riddled bottles.

In Dominio de la Vega, we have particularly focused on delivering aged cavas (translated to ‘crianza’ in Spanish) between 18 and 36 months, where we expand our cavas reservas portfolio.

What are the defining elements of your terroir? The geography, the climate, the people, the traditions which define and explain Dominio de la Vega?

Terroir is a key concept for us. Terroir is the base of our viticulture and oenology.

Our highest priority is the expression of our land, our varieties and our vintage. For this, we ferment all our plots separately, which is the only way to taste and appreciate the singularity of each and every one of them. In a cava we will taste limestone, in another we will notice Xarel·lo, in a third nuances of fresh harvest and even perhaps in an Añada 2016 we will savour the concentration of three years of draught.

Who are the key people behind the brand?

We are a family, more specifically we are three families of viticulturists who joined at the end of the 1970s being pioneers of the Utiel-Requena region for the development of cava and the local variety Bobal. The three families are called Expósito, Pardo and Faubel.

Why and how is Dominio de la Vega different and unique?

We are different because each wine and each cava are unique. At least, we try to make them unique.

Where does the company see itself in the future? What are the ideas of development?

The company aspires to be a traditional cellar, influencing the region but keeping the modern and latest technologies and the knowledge of its surroundings. Our development is very much linked to our region and the greater understanding of the life cycle of the vineyards, as well as their changing environment and natural processes of winemaking. All research projects follow this path.

What are the family values and are they still applicable nowadays? What changes from one generation to another?

We are lucky to have several generations working side by side every day. They enhance one another with the key words: serenity, seriousness and commitment.

Will the future generations continue the traditions and how will they introduce the innovation?

Paradoxically, market trends are actually inspired by the traditional techniques. We have been pioneers in the bottling of Bobal, pioneers in the cava making, pioneers in the adoption of viticulture and oenological techniques for minimising the non-beneficial effects of climate change on the vine and wine, and we will continue highly to maintain this innovative spirit.

You also sell products online: how has online sales impacted the company?

We diversify sales and understand the importance of e-commerce, especially in the Asian merging markets. However, we respect the traditional sales channels through wine professionals. Anyone can come to our cellar seven days a week and buy a case of cava or wine at Dominio de la Vega.

You organise guided tours of your cellar and vineyards, as well as serving brunch – what are the objectives behind these experiences?

The guided tours are the most direct actions of transparency in which anyone is welcome to see the different projects happening at Dominio de la Vega. These experiences offer a visual illustration of the essence of our wines and the people working for our brand.

Speaking generally – where do you see the cava market and the sparkling wines in general?

The consumption of sparkling wines is clearly expanding, both due to its refreshing and lighter character, as well as its more playful connotations and celebrations.

Paradoxically, our goal is to take it out of the image of just being an appetiser or dessert – as it happens in Spain – and introduce it more and more in the gastronomic pairings.

There is a great future for sparkling wines and the cava has great opportunities due to the uniqueness of its traditional process and the quality. Additionally, a new horizon is opening up, giving more and more attention to the terroir – it is the only denomination of origin which leads to an impressive diversity of terroirs. Cava de Paraje is one of the best sparkling wines in the world and has had an impact on the cava market bringing many benefits to the cavas being aged for more than 36 months.

With this in mind – what are the challenges and opportunities for brands like yours in the current market?

The opportunity is obvious, we have the best vineyards in Europe in terms of the sparkling wine making thanks to our traditional method.

The DOP Utiel-Requena has an average of 50 years old which is one of the oldest in the world. The Bobal territory is a candidate to be a Unesco World Heritage Site due to the discovery of the “pilillas” – cellars from 6 B.C. We have tradition, historical heritage, great vineyards, ancestral varieties, great wines and cavas. The challenge is clear: know how to communicate it and spread the word.

17 October 2018