Interview with David Espinar from Ribera del Duero Producer Emilio Moro

David Espinar (left) and Juan Muga (right) If you haven’t heard of Emilio Moro, they are a HUGE name in Spanish wine, and fortunately one that you are starting to see around Jacksonville a lot more! This interview was conducted at Taverna in San Marco, on the same day as my interview with Juan Muga.

38175 Jacksonville Wine Guide: Name?
David Espinar from Emilio Moro.

JWG: Job description?
I belong to the Board of Directors for Emilio Moro, which was formed by the four Moro brothers. I’m also the Managing Director of the whole group for both wineries and I’m the Director of the Emilio Moro Foundation.

JWG: Tell me a little about the philosophy of Emilio Moro.
DE: We are obviously committed to the quality of our wines, even though we make a range of wines from the inexpensive through to the more premium. We also say that when our wines go into the market, we use the expression Prêt-à-Porter, ready to drink. We are also actively involved with the overall promotion of wines from the Ribera del Duero region of Spain.

DE: We also promote that wine is multi-faceted, it can be joined in various ways to culture, to sports, art, politics, humanitarian actions, we want to go beyond the general understanding of “wine”. Emilio Moro has signed an agreement with the United Nations to help provide water to some of the poorest areas in the world. So yes, the quality is always focus for us, but we realize that we have other responsibilities also.

ES174F2006 JWG: I was just talking with Juan Muga from Bodegas Muga about Rioja, can you tell me a little more about the Ribera del Duero region of Spain and how it compares to Rioja.
DE: The soils are different than in Rioja, but Ribera del Duero has the advantage of altitude. Most of the vineyards are between 800-1,200 meters above sea level, this is very important to the quality of the grape because of the quality of the weather. It’s colder than in most other parts of Spain. We have hot summers and cold winters, which gives us a shorter growing season. The Ribera del Duero also has a relatively low rainfall and it really makes the vines struggle (which is a good thing). Combining all these factors really favors the production of quality grapes.

JWG: What would you say is the biggest misconception about Spanish wines by the American consumer?
DE: The main bulk of wines that Spain exports are cheap wines, sometimes they are good, sometimes not so much. So sometimes the quality isn’t as well represented as it could be.
If you look at the reviews from American Journalists, it seems that the Spanish wines which they are featuring, most people just can’t afford. Spain really does produce wine at all price levels, but sometimes people think that in order to taste quality Spanish wines, you have to spend a lot of money on some of the more highly rated bottles in order to see what Spain is all about.

JWG: What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve seen in the economy?
DE: We have changed some of our pricing because of the economy. But I think the main problem with Spain specifically is the prices of wines in restaurants, which are very discompensed with the actual value of the wine. I think it’s quite negative for the consumer…

ES159F2007 JWG: I wouldn’t say that’s any different from most other countries, at least from what I’ve have seen
DE: I think it’s a global problem. We don’t have the taxes you have here. The taxes on alcohol in Spain are very low, wine really isn’t considered an alcoholic drink, it’s considered a food, so we have that advantage.

JWG: So it doesn’t get taxed as highly?
DE: Exactly! We do have taxes on wine, but they are very low.

JWG: Well I guess I’m moving to Spain then!
DE: [laughs]

JWG: If you aren’t drinking Emilio Moro wines, what are you drinking?
DE: Maybe Bordeaux. There’s so much good wine coming from there right now, and not just from the big Chateau’s. Some of the smaller ones are excellent, you don’t have to spend a lot on money on Bordeaux, especially at the moment, in order to taste some excellent wine.

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