C.V.N.E. | Rioja Alta

C.V.N.E. Vineyards in La Rioja Alta, Spain

The C.V.N.E. Company, or to give it its full name, Compañía Vinicola del Norte de España (The Northern Spanish Wine Company) was established on the 24th of March 1879 in Haro, Rioja. It was set up by two brothers, Eusebio and Raimundo Real de Asúa, their aim was to capitalise on the flourishing new trade in wine.

C.V.N.E. is still controlled by the direct descendants of the founding family and today has three main wineries in Rioja - Cune, Viña Real and Contino - a winery in D.O. Cava, a winery in D.O Valdeorras and new winery in D.O. Ribera del Duero.

The Cune winery in Rioja Alta forms the heartland of C.V.N.E. The famous Haro winery produces the wines of Monopole, Cune and the much sought-after classic, Imperial. The winery and C.V.N.E. headquarters have been at the Cune site in Haro since 1879. The winery and its first cellar were built in the same year pioneering a new lighting system still in operation today. 20 years later more cellars were built incorporating an innovative new design inspired by the legendary architect, Alexandre Gustave Eiffel. Rather than use conventional columns to support the ceiling, metal trusses extend from wall to wall creating an open space that significantly improves the management of the barrels in the cellar. Here the wine is produced, bottled and aged. Cune aims to produce wines that combine tradition with a continuous drive to improve wine quality.

Viña Real was launched by C.V.N.E. in the 1920s and became one of the pioneering wineries to make Crianza wines in oak barrels, as well as one of the first wineries to produce age worthy wines in the Rioja Alavesa made from Tempranillo. A careful balance between tradition and modernity has defined Viña Real’s ethos ever since. A breath-taking new winery was opened in 2004 by King Juan Carlos of Spain. It is a stunningly impressive, modernist winery in Laguardia, made out of concrete, wood and stainless-steel. This state-of-the-art winery is shaped like an enormous oak vat with two tunnels drilled into the mountain. Natural light, caves dug to store the wine, cutting-edge technology such as the use of gravity and the installation of the first vertical hopper in Spain, define this monumental work.

With foundations dating from the 16th century, Contino is a 62 hectare estate located in a bend on the River Ebro. Here, a particular microclimate gives a special character to the wine. The name Contino refers to the royal guard of 100 soldiers who continually, ‘de contino’, guarded the King and his family. One of their members, Don Pedro de Samaniego, was rewarded for his loyalty with the property, now home to Contino. In 1973, Contino established the concept of the ‘Bordeaux Chateau’ in Rioja, creating the first single estate Rioja.

Maria Larrea was born and raised in Rioja, a place with a long winemaking tradition. Today, Maria holds the position of Technical Director for the entire C.V.N.E. group. Her responsibilities also include overseeing the winemaking of all the Cune and Imperial wines at the original winery in Haro.