Research, development and innovation as keys for the future of this wine group
Matarromera wine group
We interview Carlos Moro, president of Grupo Matarromera, who explains what it means to have R+D+I as the basic strategic development line for his business. "We invest 20% of sales in research, investing more in innovation than any other winery in the world."
Carlos Moro can put another notch on his professional belt, the 2017 Spanish National Award for Innovation, whose jury highlighted his "commitment to innovation, introducing innovative processes and products in the wine industry, respecting the environment and sustainability, and using R+D+I as a strategic key for competitiveness".
In addition to wineries in the main Spanish denominations of origin, Grupo Matarromera also has an olive oil mill (Oliduero), a line of cosmetics (Esdor), a wine-tourism complex, a rural hotel and a restaurant. Furthermore, it boasts a molecular deconstruction plant where alcohol-free and low-alcohol wines are made under the brand WIN. Together these things appear to be a declaration of intent in wine innovation.
Would you summarize what innovative processes you've introduced to the wine industry?
Climate change is provoking modifications that we need to adapt to and that we have already studied in the CENID DEMETER project, which took into account things like the reduction of pH levels, wine stabilization and improving microbiology. Other adjustments have to do with alcohol content, which is higher than usual due to higher temperatures and overripe grapes.
And, what products have been launched as a result of these processes?
R+D+I frequently means working to leave things the way they were. Our environment is changing, and maintaining an innovative product demands research and development projects to do so.
What we have managed to do is launch a line of alcohol-free wines with which we have entered into markets like Arab countries that were unreachable for years with a product that was the result of fermenting grapes.
With regard to wine packaging, Matarromera is one of the most innovative wineries. What types of containers do you sell your wines in that are different from the classic 750 ml glass wine bottle?
Years ago we were pioneers in the launch of high-quality wines in 187 ml PET bottles that could be used on airlines. Additionally, thanks to our calculation of the carbon footprint of a bottle of wine that we certified for the first time in 2010, and in view of the possibilties for reducing emissions by turning our attention to packaging, we were the first to reduce the weight of the glass bottle for all types of wines. We mainly use this type of container for young wines and quality wines with short-term aging in oak barrels.
Do any organoleptic changes occur to the wines that are bottled in these new containers? Do they offer advantages that outweigh even those of the classic wine bottle?
Yes. With regard to the PET containers, we have worked to improve their properties with regard to their impermeability, to keep oxygen from seeping into them.
According to our studies, there are no short term organoleptic alterations. In any case, these containers are used for young wines that are consumed relatively quickly, given that we have yet to find a substitution for aging wines in bottles. The advantages are mainly in terms of transportation given their reduced weight, as well as their greater environmental sustainability for that same reason, and the fact that PET contaminates less than glass.
When choosing which container to use, do you take into account where the wine is headed, in terms of markets / countries?
Yes, since countries in northern Europe are more environmentally conscious and they have a "wine culture" that is different from that of the Mediterranean. They seek products whose production does not imply damaging the environment. On the other hand, the offer of alcohol-free wines has allowed us to position ourselves positively in countries whose culture prohibits alcohol consumption.
What has the market reception been like for the products in alternative containers?
The national market and the Regulatory Councils are still reticent when it comes to changing the glass bottle for other types of containers. However, in terms of export, the new containers have met with a very positive response. Care of the environment is intrinsic to Matarromera's philosophy, as well as the elaboration of high-quality wines full of personality, which I have signed with my own name for decades. Therefore, we believe in working towards the development of new, more sustainable containers, and that intelligent containers that allow for the optimum aging and evolution of wines will eventually be implemented. I also believe that the imposition of the completion of environmental objectives by country that was initiated with the Kyoto Protocol, and society's increasing concern for the environment, will lead to a gradual substitution of glass bottles (at least for young or minimally oak-aged wines) in the medium to long-term.
Grupo Matarromera holds innovation as a strategic line of its business development. How does innovation fit in with internationalization?
Our company can only be understood through its commitment to innovation. We invest 20% of sales in R+D+I, and invest more in this field than any other winery in the world.
As a result, we coordinate research projects with over a dozen universities throughout the world, 17 technological institutes, and companies from the agri-food industry, as well as other sectors. This collaboration provides us with a strategic vision of consumer's needs in many countries, which in turn gives us added insight into their markets.