Meet Your Makers: Valduero

Doing things the easy or expected way just isn’t a possibility for Yolanda Garcia Viadero and the Valduero winery she crafts wines for. For instance, rather than buying an existing plot of established vines, Yolanda planted everything from scratch. And if you think she’s the type to settle for a regular old winery and aging cellar, think again: They burrowed out a mountain to build their facilities … and then planted some more vines on top of it for good measure.

Naturally, that never-satisfied-with-the-ordinary mentality carries through from the vineyard to the wines. As far as wines go, Valdueros are your classic overachievers. Within the regulations for Ribera del Duero, depending on what you plan on labeling your wine as — Crianza, Reserva, Gran Reserva, etc. — there are certain aging standards that need to apply. Valduero goes above and beyond those standards, and not because they need to, but because they want to. Where some might try to get the wine onto store shelves as soon as possible to make room for more production, Valduero intentionally keeps it there far longer than most, simply because the end result is a better wine.

The Reserva spends 30 months in oak — more than double the required 12 months — and then spends 18 months (six months longer than needed) in the bottle. And their Gran Reserva? Try 48 months in the barrel (the standard is 24 months) and 40 months (four months extra) in the bottle. So, should you find yourself lucky enough to have a bottle of Valduero Gran Reserva in your hand, know that an extra two years and four months of tender, loving care went into ensuring that it’s of the highest quality — which is exactly how Yolanda planned to differentiate her brand and wines from day one.

Breaking apart from the pack, going the extra miles (or years, in this case) to build a reputation, and, you know, hollowing out a mountain in order to do so, takes time, money and attention to detail.

“Say there’s a family with five children — each is very different,” Yolanda says. “And when you’re in the vineyard, if you look at a certain plot, you realize they are different in how they give the grapes. As all get in line, they all look alike, but they are not,” she laughs.

So what’s the driving force behind it all?

“My father had told me ‘Yola, good business is done without money,’” Yolanda recalls, driving home the point that without vision and dedication, Valduero couldn’t exist. And ultimately, that vision and all of the steps taken to plant the Valduero flag will hopefully culminate with Yolanda’s dream moment.

“For me, my dream is that someone will try this wine in a blind tasting and say ‘It’s a Valduero.’”

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