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Vivanco was founded in 1915 when Pedro Vivanco began to produce his own wines. He was a prudent businessman who made his fortune in the wine trade. Starting out as a wine merchant, he became a significant vineyard owner who established a substantial collection of his own bodegas. The the site of the current winery was acquired in 1985, perfectly located in Briones, an enclave in Rioja Alta on the banks of the River Ebro, in the foothills of the Sierra de Cantabria. But it wasn't until fourth generation Rafael Vivanco Sáenz joined his family's winery in 2001 that massive changes began to take place. Bringing with him winemaking skills learnt in Bordeaux, Rafael developed Vivanco into one of the most important producers in Spain. Winemaker Rafael remains at the helm, assisted by his brother Santiago “Santi” Vivanco, who concentrates on the cultural side of things. Vivanco operate seven bodegas with around 400 hectares of vineyards. The grapes are sourced from eight vineyard sites, four in Rioja Alta (Briones, San Vincente, Badarán, Alesón), and four in Rioja Baja (Alberite, Villamediana, Agoncillo, Tudelilla). The focus is on native grape varieties: Tempranillo is the main variety under cultivation, but there is also some red Graciano, Garnacha, Mazuelo, Maturana Tinta, and the white Tempranillo Blanco,Viura, Malvasia, Garnacha Blanca, and Maturana Blanca. Each variety is planted in the site that will best enhance its qualities. The grapes are all hand-picked and when they arrive at the gravity-fed underground winery they go through a rigorous selection process before a cold maceration to extract their colour and aromas. This is a novel technique for which Vivanco have a special room, where the grapes are cooled to 3°C for 24 hours before vinification takes place in small French oak vats and the wines are aged in oak from different provenances. The Vivanco family are passionate about wine and its culture and, wishing to disseminate that passion to the world, Santi established the Vivanco Museum of Wine Culture. This was inaugurated in 2004 with the single goal of education through a journey of the history of wine, its viticultural and production methods and cultural significance. To this end 4,000 square metres over six rooms, one outside (which boasts a collection of more than 220 different grape varieties from around the world) is devoted to the relationship between man and wine.
Vivanco craft Rioja in a modern style, these terroir-driven wines are full of bright juicy fruit, each with their own personality expressing the typicity of where the grapes are grown, presented in distinctive bottles. Vivanco are a real mix of the old and the new - the design of their bottles was inspired by an early French 19th century bottle they have in their museum, one of the last models made using the traditional blowing technique before industrial methods became the norm. Their bottles are as unique as the wines they hold!