What does it take to set yourself apart in the wine world?
Centuries-old experience and pedigree are great, but in Ribera del Duero, that’s not entirely unheard of. Innovation through technology is key, but anyone with enough cashflow can buy some fancy equipment and newfangled gizmos. After that comes the intangibles — and for the legendary Emilio Moro winery, one such intangible actually has absolutely nothing to do with how their wine tastes.
Instead, they’re making a social statement through their wine labels, which President Jose Moro tells us fits directly into their goals of “kindness through social awareness, personality, and persistence.”
How so? After hosting an event for a local charity for the blind, the Moro family connected on an emotional level to those in attendance and sought out to do something about it with his wines. Cut to 2015, when now you can run your fingers across any Emilio Moro label and feel how serious they are about the cause — in 2014, Emilio Moro became the only winery in the world to include Braille lettering on all of their labels. It’s innovation, but not in the Silicon Valley form of the word: It’s innovation in the human form.
Moro, who oversees both the world-renowned Emilio Moro and Cepa 21 wineries in Ribera del Duero, knows that the Emilio Moro brand needs to push forward and continue to innovate despite his family’s hundreds of years in the vineyards of Ribera del Duero. He knows they’re not bringing in state-of-the-art technology simply to seem cool or hip. All they’re interested in is making the best product possible.
“Innovation is not a way of inventing something ‘fashionable’ or ‘cosmopolitan,’ but rather, a way of looking into the identity of the soils and obtain the best out of the Pesquera del Duero land, using the most modern advancements,” he says.
Those lands in the town of Pesquera del Duero offer up some of the most unique wines, thanks in part to its landscape. Head in a 4×4 up a road, and you’ll be 900 meters above sea level in one of the highest altitude vineyards that all of Ribera del Duero has to offer. In that exact place, you’ll also see vineyards that slope downhill and then plateau out at the bottom — each area with its own unique soil and characteristics that ultimately end up in the grapes that are grown there. See for yourself as Emilio Moro viticulturist Vincente Abete shows off the vineyards that make Emilio Moro’s prized wines:
“Our terroir is born from a combination of weather, soil and the vines. In the Ribera del Duero temperatures vary greatly from day to night, we have different kind of soils that bring different attributes to our wines, and last but not least, the Tempranillo variety, Tinto Fino and our Emilio Moro clone,” Jose tells us.
Jose is also a big proponent of social media as a way of connecting emotionally with fans of Emilio Moro and Cepa 21.
“Every day we give our followers all of the information of what we are doing and who we are,” Moro says. “We want to give our followers information about the wine world in general, in addition to promotional initiatives and events. We want our followers to be able to keep up to date with who we are, everything we do and who we are becoming.”
There’s a passion and a seriousness to Jose that translates over to his wines — no matter which one you choose to dance with. Be it the $15 Finca Resalso, the $50-ish Malleolus or the aforementioned $200-plus Clon de Familia, the attention to detail has been handed down from generation to generation.
“I get my passion and inspiration from my father, and the education he has given me since I was a kid. I learned everything I know by helping him … I was born in a family of winemakers, so, from a very early age wine became a part of who I am. I never even considered doing anything else. It is my passion.”
The combination of conviction, pride and confidence is apparent within Emilio Moro … we’re talking 007-level seriousness. When asked what celebrity he’d compare his wines to, Moro told us: “Sean Connery, for he is a man with character and a strong personality.”
Emilio Moro — poured, not stirred.