Recaredo, working from conscience
The Recaredo winery, Corpinnat, is located in the old centre of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia. It is the only winery that continues to carry out the entire winemaking process in the centre of the village and has been doing so since the beginning of the 20th century. Everything that is produced at Recaredo is made from conscience.
Ton Mata, the third generation of the Recaredo winery, decided to join the family business 25 years ago. After studying aeronautical engineering, when he returned home he had a long conversation with his father and decided to study agricultural engineering and join the family business. He has been technical director, general manager and is now managing director. Together with two other cousins, he manages the company under the direction of a person outside the family.
Doing what you like
The history of the winery is curious, given that all the Corpinnat that comes out of the company is the fruit of its own harvests. “We come from a family that had no vineyards,” explains Ton Mata, “My grandfather, when he started, didn’t have a single vineyard, and now we own 80 hectares, from which we produce 100% Recaredo Corpinnat.” To produce still wine, they need to buy grapes.
Ton Mata’s grandfather was the son of a family of pottery craftsmen who made the typical pieces for construction. “My great-grandmother sent my grandfather to work in some cellars when he was very young. And this is where it all began,” he explains. There, the grandfather learned the craft of secondary fermentation, everything that goes on inside the bottle (ageing, pupitre, secondary fermentation, disgorging) and he became “an expert in the art of manual disgorging.” “Then he set up his own winery and, little by little, he transformed the family’s roof into a cellar,” he adds. In fact, the winery still conserves part of the old roof.
“My grandfather,” explains Ton Mata, “realised that if he wanted to make a good wine, he needed a good vineyard. And that’s how we started the vertical integration, but instead of doing it from the vineyard forward, we do it backwards.” The third generation is reaping the fruits of the work done by the grandfather. Ton Mata says that this inheritance allows them to follow “a dream path”: “Doing what we really like and want to do. We try to be free, not to have any ties, that is to say, that it is not the market that shows us the way. Fortunately, so far, we have found the complicity of people who have liked what we do.”
The ‘terroir’ that shelters the vines
Ton Mata explains that the winery has undergone a transformation from traditional farming to organic farming and then to biodynamic farming. “This process has made us stronger in our convictions, which are: to make only brut nature sparkling wines, to make wines that are really capable of representing a landscape, a territory, with all the consequences and not just blah, blah, blah; to age much longer…”
Recaredo has a production of 280,000 bottles. It exports 15 percent outside Spain, another 15 percent within Spain, and its main market is Catalonia, with 70 percent. Ton Mata considers that they are a small winery. Although he looks at the sector with concern, he celebrates the birth of new companies that bring their products to the market from the vineyard. He believes that the Penedès wine sector must be fragmented if the prestige of the area is to be maintained. “It is interesting that there are small companies, each with its own style and personality. It’s good for maintaining balance,” he argues.
However, he is concerned about the territory, the landscape and the environment. “It is so threatening that it makes me suffer. Corpinnat is going against the tide. It is very difficult to make wines that represent a landscape if you don’t have a quality landscape. The threats of infrastructures such as the MAT, industrial estates such as Can Vies and, above all, the waste we leave on the land such as herbicides or insecticides… It is clear that it does not help to maintain a quality landscape. This type of agriculture has no future and is not sustainable. It prevents us from making wines that represent a landscape because what it does is to destroy this landscape and the wines end up showing this destroyed landscape,” he regrets.
For Ton Mata, practising biodynamic agriculture means that their wines reflect the soil where they have been grown, the ‘terroir’. “We offer a sparkling wine that represents transparency: of a harvest, a vintage, a ‘terroir’, people and a team. A brut nature is the one that gives the greatest transparency, and with this obsession to represent the ‘terroir’ you realise that the buried landscape is very damaged,” he explains.
Preserve the landscape
For Mata, practising biodynamic agriculture means working to preserve the landscape, working with nature and not against nature. “We introduced the more rational part of biodynamics in 2006. We have been opening up to biodynamics, not only to the rational and biological part, but also to the more philosophical and more conscious part, to be more attentive to what you do and why you do it. This is a challenge, because when you have a job done, it doesn’t just have to be a mechanical execution, it has to involve an awareness of how it is being done and why it is being done,” he explains. For Mata, working from the point of view of awareness has a consequence on the result of the wine.
Recaredo forms part of the Corpinnat group (a collective brand of the European Union) along with ten other wineries. Its commitment to the territory is reflected in the principles of this brand.
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