White is the twin of red

Ignacio Prieto Pariente (1984) holds a BA in Law and Business and an international MBA from IE Business School. He joined Bodegas José Pariente in 2013 and took charge of the export field. Now he is the managing director of the family group, which traces its origins back to a grandfather who runs a restaurant in Rueda. “A modest business. He owned 2.5 hectares of vineyards. That was his great passion. The produce he produced was made by hand and sold as house wine in his restaurant or in bulk to visitors to Rueda. He died suddenly in 1997. My mother was a winemaker and worked as a consultant at other wineries. He worked and decided to take over the vineyard and turn it into a wine project. He named him José Pariente as a tribute. That’s why we celebrate the winery’s 25th anniversary,” before adding that his mother, Victoria Pariente, was “the first founder of wineries in Spain.” The company has 91 hectares of vineyards and produces between 600,000 and 700,000 bottles depending on the year, employs 28 permanent workers and bills around 10 million euros. He is in a relationship with his sister Martina, who is a graduate of Agricultural Engineering and Wine Science, who is responsible for all wine production. It is part of the third generation. Valladolid is known for its white wines from Segovia and Ávila.

Has Bodegas José Pariente survived the fear of the pandemic?

Fortunately, yes. The pandemic has been very difficult for all industries, but especially for those linked to the hospitality industry. It was a big scare because you saw all your closed clients from one day to the next. We used to make predictions back then. We were optimistic and thought reactivation would happen when it reopened, and it was actually amazing. The end consumer responded very positively. There was a great desire to go out and consume. It was a breath of fresh air.

What lessons have you learned from this crisis about the management of the company?

The first is that you must always be prepared for anything, both at the team level and financially. At the team level, because it was a very quick exercise to make all processes more flexible. From one day to the next everything was shut down and we had to telework in an industry where presence is paramount. This was a huge challenge. At the financial level, there was great pressure due to the loss of income, but the expenses could not be eliminated. We can’t stop staring at the field. Luckily we had a bed, although we had to do a balancing act. We’ve always liked to be predictive. We had reservations.

And what implications does the war in Ukraine have for the winery?

Beyond the macroeconomic impacts that affect us all, such as energy costs and high prices, the reality is that orders from Russia and Ukraine have been paralyzed even though there are in fact residual markets for us. Also for the industry.

The world of wine gives the impression of being very fragmented, with many family and artisanal wineries. Shouldn’t the industry be more concentrated, or is its strength the diversity its small size allows?

It is indeed a super atomized market. We are many wineries. Yes, it’s true that as in any industry, companies tend to buy out other small companies when they grow, but this industry is one where small projects keep popping up because the barrier to entry is relatively accessible: a vineyard and a good winery to make it possible. There are many young people trying to take on and create new and differentiating projects. This produces atomization. I don’t think there is a sector that will be affected by the merger in the future. They are very personal businesses with a soul, stamp of identity and even an artistic touch. Often the winemaker has an emotional connection that cannot be had in other industries.

The wine market is almost experiencing a battle between countries. The French and Italians were the most active in international trade, but now Chile, the United States or Australia have strongly joined the offer. What about Spanish wine?

In very good condition and with better hopes each time. We’re changing the vision for Spanish wine as a value-for-money product to start focusing on high-quality projects even when prices are higher. To sell quality without complexes, we have to let go of the burden of going with the quality/price ratio tag. We have great diversity and talent. With each passing vintage, we have better wines and this is the image we should all project abroad.

How do you observe from afar the Kava conflict, that is, the planting rights of this vineyard are limited to only a few regions?

The Kava issue is complex. In the past this possibility opened up, and then trying to limit it becomes even more difficult. I think we have very good sparkling wines, with or without DO cava. In the long run, worthwhile projects will stand out whether they are in a particular DO or not.

What are José Pariente’s main projects for the future?

We have converted our entire vineyard to organic agriculture, and now we are accompanying the viticulturalists who supply us with grapes in the region to participate in this process. We are very focused on promoting foreign markets. We sell in 54 countries and the idea is to try to reach 70 in two years. 25% of our production goes abroad.

You and your sister created a craftsman firm, Bodegas Prieto Pariente, as a spin-off of Bodegas José Pariente. Why? Why?

It is the result of worry and a desire to keep growing. When we joined Bodegas José Pariente, we set out to create a small project dedicated to the salvage of old vineyards in our region and show the wine diversity of our region, in this case the entire Duero Valley. We bought six small parcels and produced four different wines on them. This is basically a red wine project.

To what extent will climate change change wine production patterns? Are competitors growing as temperatures soften in regions that were previously unable to produce wine?

We are in the beginning stages, but it is true that this affects not only vineyards but also agriculture. In our case, it rains less every year, the average temperature rises a little, which will encourage some countries to produce wine, and other countries that are now producing without problems will have to look for more water. Nordic countries like Norway or the United Kingdom are talking more and more about planting vineyards in the future.

And Spain? Is desertification a serious threat to this industry?

Completely. The further south we go, the greater the difficulties of producing wine.

Are some origin names endangered because of this?

I do not think so. What’s happening is that with global warming we’re going to move towards lower vineyard yields and more irrigation, so the problem may be a greater shortage of production instead of being in danger. In other words, shorter harvest.

How is Bodegas Jose Pariente dealing with rising prices?

Like everyone. Setting margins and assuming increments. Our raw materials such as bottles, corks or cardboard are increasing a lot. We raise prices whenever possible, but very moderately so that the consumer appreciates this as little as possible and does not cut back on purchases because it is over budget.

How do you anticipate what the economic future will be like? are you optimistic

We have always been optimistic. To this day, there is still a desire to consume. Unlike the 2008 financial crisis, this time the crisis caused by the pandemic did not affect consumption or the citizens’ wallets much. But it all depends on how the next few months and even years will unfold. See if prices are moderate. We see a state of uncertainty. Prices need to be fixed so that consumption is not affected too much.

Are steps being taken to prevent it?

I imagine everyone trying to take action. Central banks have changed their monetary policy, but there is still a long way to go in terms of measures to be taken in the coming months so that the economy and above all companies are not affected further. The first is to control production costs due to the increase in energy, which is the basis of everything. It is the basic measure. Electricity and fuel are at exorbitant prices so that companies can produce with sustainable margins. Therefore, the ECB decided to increase interest rates. In any case, we should make it clear that it will take time to return to the stability we had before covid.

Is white wine the little brother of red or is it already outdated?

This has definitely been surpassed due to its aging and mating potential. White is the twin of red wine, but not a younger sibling.

Beer has become the favorite drink of the Spaniards in bars. Are you afraid you will also dominate restaurant menus, or is wine unrivaled in this area?

I do not think so. In this, two drinks are associated with a moment of pleasure and meeting. Beer has a more mundane ingredient, but wine is a better companion when people sit down to eat. It has more matching capacity. It won’t fill you up that much.

Young people are not very interested in wine because of prices, among other reasons. What can manufacturers do to capture them and encourage customer renewal?

I think that the number of young people who start drinking wine when they reach a certain age, especially after the age of twenty, is increasing. More and more young consumers understand more and demand more quality. But as an account pending at all levels, from producers to hoteliers to prescribers, we must simplify the message about wine. It doesn’t matter if you believe you understand more or less, the main thing is that you love wine. Each will find their favorite wine profile. And there are many prices and affordable ones within this range. I don’t think price is a barrier.

Source: Informacion

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