Finca Manzanos is a family winery steeped in tradition, passed from one generation to the next. It is currently run by Guillermina Roldán and her sons Victor and David Fernández de Manzanos Roldán.
Victor is CEO of Finca Manzanos and he is the 5th generation of the family to run the winery which dates back to 1890. He has an international degree in Management from the University of Navarra and spent time studying economics, finance and management at the London school of Economics. When we recently asked him to describe himself, he replied “incredibly ambitious and dynamic, determined person, very hard working, kind of shy”. He is committed to the environment and sustainability and for that purpose he is always implementing new measures to ensure his wines are top quality.
It’s all about teamwork at Finca Manzanos though and the winemaker and head of technical development is Borja Ripa. Cut from the new generation of winemakers, Borja is passionate about the wines being produced at Finca Manzanos. After studying Agricultural Engineering with a masters in Oenology, Borja travelled across the globe refining his craft, his stops included Napa Valley and Australia. He’s settled back in the heart of Rioja, where he has set about making classic Rioja tailored to the modern palate, fresher and more fruit-forward.
In 1890 Don Lorenzo Fernandez de Manzanos founded the first family cellar. 120 years after its inception it is still one of the pillars of Rioja Wine, combining expansion, innovation and development. They produce only the finest wines at their state of the art winery in the village of Azagra, which is located right where the waters of the Rivers Ebro and Ega meet. This location lends itself to producing some of the best Rioja in Spain. The cold wet winters and dry hot summers provide perfect growing conditions for the grape varieties traditional to Rioja wine, Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano, Mazuelo and Viura.
The vines are planted on clay-limestone soil at an average height of 400m. The average age of the vines is between 20-25 years with a cluster of some over 50 years old.
Finca Manzanos have amassed 250 hectares of vineyards in the areas of Aldeanueva de Ebro, Alfaro, Azagra and San Adrián, all vineyards are protected by the Rioja Qualified Denomination of Origin.
Borja selects from American, French, Eastern European and even Russian oak barrels to suit the characteristics of each vintage, creating a perfect harmony. The use of wood for ageing, also contributes to flavour and texture enhancing creating a wonderful take on Rioja, maintaining all the old family traditions with the latest technology.
We recently had a chance to chat with CEO Victor Manzanos and head winemaker Borja Ripa, and here are his answers to our questions:
Q&A Victor Manzanos & Borja Ripa
Q) Where did it all start for you in the wine world?
VM) When I was born! I woke up in the middle of vineyards and learned to walk in one of our wineries!
Q) Tell us a little bit about the winery where you work…
VM) Elegant château-style building, four floors underground, it was designed by my father with the aim to make the very best wine, as there is no need to manipulate the wine. He used the concept of gravity.
Q) Aside from Spain of course, what is your favourite country?
VM) Could not choose one, because I still have to visit some good candidates!! But now I can say that UK brings me very good memories as I have been studying there. The US is also a country that fascinates me and I have close friends that were born there!
BR) Australia, because of the Australian lifestyle
Q) What is your very first memory of wine?
VM) I remember when I was a child around five and I used to come riding my bike to the winery with my grandfather!
BR) A €120 bottle that my classmates gave me when we graduated! But I have always been related to the wine world because my father has vineyards and I have always helped him. He is a farmer and is still devoted to vine-growing.
Q) Who inspires you?
VM) My Father, he keeps being an inspiration for me and helps me every day.
Q) What really gets you excited about the wine world?
VM) It is an elegant world; it is not a real job, but kind of a way of life. You get to know very interesting people and you can travel the world with the excuse of wine.
BR) Everything! It is amazing how we can forecast the results and make our client’s wishes become real. I obviously love Riojan reds, but am also a huge fan of both Australia Syrah and Californian Cabernet.
Q) How do you pass your time outside of wine?
VM) If I am not at the winery I should be travelling or skiing or having something to drink at Voché wine bar!
Q) Describe ‘Manzanos Wines’ in 3 words…
VM) Tradition, innovation and modernity.
BR) Landscape, Control (of the process), Philosophy (of the project)
Q) Describe Spain in one word…
Q) What’s your favourite dish in the world?
VM) Now? Spaghetti Quattro Formaggi!
Q) What would your famous last words be?
VM) If you can solve your problem, then what is the need of worrying? If you cannot solve it, then what is the use of worrying?
BR) You should give without expecting anything from others, that is the only way you will receive.
Q) Who is your football team?
VM) Real Madrid of course, but I am not a big supporter really.
Q) Who is your sporting hero?
VM) Rafa Nadal has impressed me, he is a very good example of personal growth.
BR) Rafa Nadal. He has shown sacrifice, desire for self-improvement and he is very down to earth! He has everything.
Q) What was your sweet first car?
VM) My first car was a Volvo C70, beige and with leather seats, it was my first year at uni so when I think of it I have very good memories!! I still have it in the garage
Q) Tell us your most annoying habit…
VM) I am not the one to ask…but I believe I have a couple of annoying habits!
Q) We are all superheroes. What is your magic power?
VM) Creation. I keep coming up with new ideas of expanding or creating new businesses!
BR) Peace in the World.