Ribera del Duero and Rueda invited U.S. wine buyers and on-premise professionals to visit the beautiful regions of Ribera del Duero and Rueda for a deep dive into Spain’s top red and white wines. During the 5-day tour, the group enjoyed countless winery visits and tasted the best of Spain’s cuisine. From UNESCO World Heritage sites to backyard homecooked BBQ’s, they also learned about the region’s rich culture, culinary heritage and winemaking history. Join us as we spend five minutes with Shelby James, Wine Buyer & Deli Manager at Miami’s beloved and oldest wine store, Sunset Corners, to learn about her favorite memories, key wine takeaways and how this trip might have changed her outlook on Ribera & Rueda wines.
- Where do you work? Sunset Corners
- What do you do there? Wine Buyer & Deli Manager
- In one word, how would you describe the Ribera del Duero wine region? Rueda?
- Ribera del Duero: Inviting
- Rueda: Pleasing
- From Mercado San Miguel to the historic Cava Baja Street, the aqueducts to the Valladolid, which cultural activity did you enjoy the most? Mercado San Miguel was the favorite. There were so many samples of food and drinks, I wish there was more time there.
- What are the “must do” activities you would recommend to someone visiting the wineries of Ribera and Rueda?
- Bodegas Valsotillo: Their underground cellars
- Villacreces: Wine blending activity
- Bodegas Neo: If you’re lucky enough to hang out and enjoy their music studio and their company. [The only winery in the world with an active music recording studio.]
- What was your most memorable food pairing during the trip? Dinner at the Los Zagales, the food was fun and funky. The restaurant experience was very entertaining.
- What was your most surprising wine learning from your time spent tasting in Ribera del Duero and Rueda?
- Ribera: The most surprising learning experience from the trip was seeing all the preserved artifacts and how well kept these [traditional underground wine] caves were. From seeing the original goat carcass that they transported wine in, to the ancient oak casks and clay jugs, it gave an extra “wow factor” to the whole experience.
- Rueda: The best part about Rueda was learning how well Verdejo can age. Mostly because I’ve been holding on to a few 2008 Martinsancho Verdejo that I’ve been too nervous to open—thinking it will be too old, but now I’m really looking forward to enjoying it.
- Has your outlook on the regions changed? I always knew Ribera was an outstanding wine region. I’ve always recommended their wines and kept up with learning about the region. Being there and seeing everything only confirmed my already high expectations of Ribera. My outlook of Rueda, however, did change. I didn’t know it was as large, experimental and advanced as it is. There were a lot of wines that really blew me away. I’m looking forward to what this region has in store for the U.S. market in the near future.
- What are were the top takeaways that you brought home to Sunset Corners? My main takeaway was the overall experience. I work in retail, and the best way to sell a wine is through a story. To relate to customers that it’s not just a delicious wine, but it’s also an experience. Being in the D.O. and seeing everything first hand gives you the opportunity to “paint the picture” of the winery and their winemaking process for the customer.