The Madrid Fusión Wine Congress focuses on the most prestigious wineries and on those that offer a more innovative selection, providing a complete overview of the sector
The 2024 edition of The Wine Edition Wines from Spain, organized by Foods and Wines from Spain, that is dedicated to oenology at Madrid Fusión went further than ever. The glass is no longer half full, but almost overflowing. The maturity of this event is visible in the series of presentations, roundtable discussion, and meetings that have gone beyond the best-known DOs and the most renowned winemakers to discover new horizons. It also reflected the world of wine from a business perspective, showing how to add value and new distribution spaces, with excellence as the leitmotiv.
One of the roundtable discussions that attracted the largest crowd focused on the Spanish wines available at La Place de Bordeaux, one of the oldest and most prestigious markets in the world. To this end, Master of Wine Almudena Alberca brought together some of the wineries that have achieved a presence in that space. The prestigious list includes names such as Benjamín Romeo, from Bodega Contador (Rioja); Ramiro Ibáñez and Willy Pérez from De la Riva; and Fernando González Riveiro, from Algueira (Ribeira Sacra DO). In other words, irrefutable proof of how the extremely high quality of Spanish wine makes it possible for them to be found in the most privileged of places.
Value creation was the title of another of the sessions, which addressed topics such as the importance of excellence and the competitiveness of wineries. Along the same lines, Master of Wine Pedro Ballesteros moderated a top tasting session, where he said that, in his opinion, the formula for success is a 50-50-50 equation: "Fifty brands that sell more than 50,000 bottles worldwide at more than 50 euros a bottle." He was accompanied by wineries endorsed by the formula for success: Remírez de Ganuza, Vega Sicilia, and La Rioja Alta. The session entitled "Creating value in the world of wine" also addressed the set of issues in the current market, from brand building and strategic models to sector trends.
History and innovation
The opening day of the congress began with a presentation in which former elBulli sommelier Ferran Centelles and chef Carlos Casillas (1 Michelin star, Barro, Ávila) traveled the Ruta de la Plata on a sensory journey with special wines and dishes prepared by the chef for pairing. A walk through history, which dated back to the Tartessos and the Romans, to draw connections with the most daring proposals from the winemakers present, with origins as diverse (and to be discovered) as Extremadura VT de and Vino de Cangas PGI, in Asturias.
That same eagerness for discovery inspired another presentation, about natural wine. Moha Benabdallah, sommelier at the Michelin-starred Etxebarri (Axpe, Vizcaya), dove into the debate on wines with (and without) sulfites in a session that was followed by another that addressed the current and future situation of natural wines, which are becoming increasingly popular among Spanish winemakers.
The Wine Edition Wines from Spain and the Spanish Wine Academy also presented the Juli Soler prize, in homage to the late co-owner of elBulli, to the most promising young professionals in the different fields of the wine industry, including Clara Puigvert, sommelier at the 2-Michelin-star restaurant Les Cols (Girona, Catalonia), and José Manuel Borrella, sommelier at the 3-starred Martín Berasategui restaurant (Lasarte, San Sebastián, Basque Country).
The conference also included complementary activities in the tasting room, where wines from Tenerife (Canary Islands), which are growing in popularity and distinguished by the peculiarity of the island, were discussed, as were the pairing possibilities of Rioja wines. Spanish wine and cheeses pairings, and in particular Andalusian wines from Montilla-Moriles DO, were also explored.
In short, The Wine Edition Wines from Spain was once again a perfect showcase for the world of Spanish wine, with an edition that placed great emphasis on the excellence of wineries and producers. At the same time, sector challenges were also discussed and a light was shined on the most groundbreaking wines. It offered a 360-degree overview of one of the most thriving sectors and one that offers more than a few reasons for a toast.