Attached to the freeway that results in Andalusia, the Félix Solís vineyard will be seen, with its superb, monumental look, with its gigantic tanks that look extra like an oil refinery. Exports account for 60 % of the corporate’s turnover, and 25 % of the wine bought within the United Kingdom or in Germany is his
Valdepeñas continues to be what it all the time was: a metropolis of historical historical past, synonymous with wine, welcoming and cordial, as is my host: Félix Solís Yáñez, whose identify additionally has the inseparable sound of the world of wine.
It is autumn Saturday, October, a month of vineyards that at the moment is proven with a beneficiant and radiant gentle that illuminates this land that can also be a land of mills and fields of wheat. Don Quixote.
“Valdepeñas wine is an officiant of jubilation. Sanctifier of commitments. Fatigue helper. Hangover Maw Wizard. Minister of friendship. Dialogue set off. Companion in lonely hours”, mentioned the playwright and tutorial Joaquín Calvo Sotelo.
Attached to the freeway that results in Andalusia, the Félix Solís vineyard will be seen, with its superb, monumental look, with its gigantic tanks that look extra like an oil refinery. The imaginative and prescient offers an concept of the magnitude of issues.
Ana and Félix and our ordinary La Mancha hosts await us on the primary entrance: Paqui and Manuel Juliá. The welcome is cordial, endearing, and we start by reviewing affections and moments shared beforehand. As we enter the bowels of the services, the dialog begins by going again to the origins, to the seed of this bold industrial undertaking, again within the 12 months 52, when Félix Solís senior (who was a butcher) and his spouse Leonor Yáñez moved with their youngsters from Villanueva de los Infantes to Valdepeñas, the place a sure potential for improvement of the wine enterprise was already perceived.
Félix goes on to inform me that originally of the Nineteen Sixties they acquired a retailer in Madrid, on Calle Escosura, and turned it right into a bottling plant and with that they started advertising Valdepeñas wines within the capital. He, on the head of his brothers (Pedro, Juan Antonio and Manuel), ventured into distribution in emblematic Madrid restaurant shops and in addition with an authentic “door-to-door” service for residence gross sales. In a short while they managed to have a presence in lots of the taverns and inns of town. Bearing in thoughts that within the mid-50s there have been solely 29 bottling vegetation in all of Spain, largely refillable containers.
Warehouses of Félix SolísNIUS
In this identical decade they launched to promote in Germany, when it was an odyssey as a result of quantity of bureaucratic necessities for export. Félix knew how one can depend on these Spanish emigrants devoted to the enterprise. They did every part, they did it, with out dropping the roots of this land for which they really feel a ardour that’s primarily based on their everlasting gratitude in the direction of Valdepeñas. While reeling off his story, I observe that my host in the present day blends in with the panorama of this daring enterprise train by which he discovered all the explanations for his existence.
“Life whereas wanting again, by no means stops,” wrote Antonio Gala.
The growth of the 70s
In the course of those years the undertaking started to accumulate essential volumes additionally as a result of institution of enormous shops all through the Spanish geography, most of them worldwide meals chains of French origin. This step was the primary of an excellent launch, a problem; Félix didn’t hesitate to launch into the search, the penetration within the meals market and Europe was traveled to the conquest of the linear of this sector: Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Scandinavia… To such an extent that 25 % of the wine bought within the UK or Germany is theirs.
Exports turned an excellent pillar and there they developed nice muscle mass, an incomparable expertise that accounts for 60 % of their turnover.
The growth technique allowed them to create their very own distribution community by way of subsidiaries and territories, and over time they expanded to different continents. Special point out ought to be product of the bottling plant in Shanghai (on the finish of the final century), which represented crucial leap for the corporate within the overseas market and which made Félix Solís the primary Spanish firm with a manufacturing presence in China, a market at the moment little or no explored.
With the arrival of the twenty first century, they established a development technique for various Spanish denominations of origin, underneath the banner of “Pagos del Rey”. A approach to feed range. The first step was taken within the Ribera del Duero with the development of a vineyard in Olmedillo de Roa (Burgos) and the acquisition of one other vineyard in La Puebla de Almoradiel (Toledo) that will assist promote the area’s wines. In steady growth, they established themselves in Rueda (Valladolid), responding to the rising demand for white wines constructed from the Verdejo selection or producing an Albariño white in Rías Baixas, in Meaño, on the services of the Paco y Lola cooperative, which It is known as, after all, “Octopus”. They couldn’t miss their institution in La Rioja they usually selected the Rioja Alta space within the city of Fuenmayor. Closing the expansive cycle, they settled in Morales de Toro (Zamora) shopping for a vineyard based in 1962, which was initially referred to as Nuestra Señora de las Viñas and was later referred to as Viña Bajoz in honor of the river that passes by way of that city. Together with the vineyard, they’ve promoted a undertaking that additionally acts as a diffuser of wine tradition, “Pagos del Rey Museo del Vino”.
This evolution was not restricted to Spain, lately Félix Solís has begun to develop tasks in South America, in Chile: a vineyard that wishes to spearhead extra worldwide futures, “Viña Casa Solís”.
Additionally, they’ve additionally began advertising wines from South Africa and New Zealand, “New World wines” with robust worldwide demand.
The planet is made up of virtually 200 international locations, they’re current in 115. It is fascinating. Félix subsequently maintains the spirit of the place on the high of the world and pronounces himself with manifest humility: “We consider in wine and that nothing on this life is achieved if it isn’t primarily based on work, dedication and taking many planes”.
His phrases go away a path of simplicity that ought to be adopted. They are “a waltz in time”, because the poet Juan Luis Panero wrote.
In a spot in La Mancha: Valdepeñas
We return to the place we have been, to this wine emporium on this metropolis anchored in wine. The vineyard was inaugurated in 1975 and over time it has grow to be among the finest and most trendy bottling vegetation in Spain, producing 1.5 million bottles a day and dispatching 120 trailers that carry the merchandise by way of the world ahead.
We proceed strolling hand in hand with Miguel Ángel Nieto, plant supervisor, by way of this facility, one of many largest family-owned services on the planet. Always underneath the peaceable and calm gaze of Félix, who doesn’t lose sight of a single angle of the panorama. Pending the little issues, the small particulars which have led him to be a world chief on the planet of wine.
Miguel Ángel continues along with his didactic stroll, displaying gigantic figures which can be measured in kilometers of distance, in dimension, in thousands and thousands of liters, in kilos of grapes… The boast of a instructor.
Felix Solis Nius Winery
More than a thousand folks work right here and plenty of different farmers within the space are of their orbit, as a result of, as Félix rightly asserts: “We should not farmers as a result of we do not know, we’re businessmen on this sector.” “But sure, our philosophy is the grape, agriculture.”
We fastidiously go to totally different areas to know that every part that comes out of right here has to do with wine, even whether it is within the type of derivatives: musts, bleedings, glowing wines… Mostly in the direction of a path that’s greater than well-trodden, exports.
Two of its reference manufacturers are produced on this clever, extremely technologically developed vineyard: Viña Albali and Los Molinos, leaders in gross sales rankings. And then there may be the best spectacle on the planet: its barrel room, the likes of which has by no means been seen, able to housing 130,000 items of American and French oak completely assembled in a vertical constructing with a basement of about 15 meters and a peak of about 36, a wonderfully designed, with an incredible technological capability able to ordering, cataloguing, situating and calling every barrel by its banner. A voyage of accuracy.
A purely Manchego lunch
Lunchtime assails us, Félix has reserved a desk at La Aguzadera, a household restaurant, spacious, with very brilliant areas and which has all the time been an compulsory cease on the way in which from Madrid to Andalusia. His cooking, with out ceasing to be present, may be very dedicated to the merchandise from La Mancha. An extraordinary ham, jams, partridge paté, migas and porridge parade on our desk. A recital of the nice delicacies of the realm.
While we style and style the cordial dialog slides. There is in Félix an excellent serenity in the way in which of talking about him, of counting, with a proverbial La Mancha rurality so effectively understood by him. And then there may be that great frequent sense to know how one can match every part in his place. The church within the middle of the village.
Together, with Manuel, we devise future tasks for the FENAVIN that can arrive in May. We share anecdotes of mutual mates and benefit from the wines which can be additionally coming to our desk:
”Ocean”, a sauvignon blanc grown within the maritime local weather of Marlborough (New Zealand), dazzling in its tropical aromas and its contemporary citrus taste.
“Octopus” is a wine with a taste from Rías Baixas, floral, fruity, brilliant, with aromas of stone fruit and leaves a protracted aftertaste.
Félix tells us that mix wines are additionally in excessive demand and he makes us strive a “Mucho + crimson”, which tastes of ripe black fruit, is balsamic and really nice.
Finally, “Condado de Oriza 2015”, made within the Ribera del Duero, a wine that with out giving up fruit reveals its toasted and smoked nuances; Powerful tannin and a long-lasting end.
The after-dinner meal is lengthened by the pleasantness of the dialog, by the nakedness of the easy in the way in which of recounting a life and work that already span seven a long time.
On my return to Madrid, I go away considering that Ana, Paqui, Amparo, Félix, Manuel and I had a contented day. The first stars seem above our heads, they cowl the swarm of buildings within the capital which can be already seen, I’m positive that considered one of them will likely be Albali, which Félix Solís observed to call his wine, the one which has gone being taught by all of the skies of the world.