Spain’s exciting viñateros movement is offering up new wave Spanish wine that may just surprise you, says wine expert Lotte Karolina Gabrovits.

by Lotte Karolina Gabrovits, Wine Expert

Spain is a long-time wine heavyweight, ranking third for global production with a whopping 28.3 million hectoliters output in 2023 (source: OIV). We all know the tried-and-true Spanish classics – Tempranillo-based Riojas from the Ribera del Duero region, or crisp Albariño whites hailing from Rías Baixas. But these days, up-and-coming small-scale winemakers are branching out (or should we say, vining out) in their grape selections and production methods.

In the past, Spain’s exports were dominated by the largest producers, such as Bodegas Campo Viejo, whose wines are available on our platform. But a new generation of winemakers is bursting onto the scene, part of the viñateros (Spanish for “wine grower”) movement,  and these innovators are unsatisfied with the region’s reliance on well-known cultivars, particularly Garnacha and the national grape of Spain, Tempranillo.

Viticulture in action at a Gramona vineyard in Penedes, Spain

The result is an explosion of grape diversity and winemaker experimentation across Spain’s rolling, vine-covered hills. We are seeing rapid growth in the prevalence of appellations out of lesser-known Denominación de Origen Protegida wine regions, from Bizkaiko Txakolina and Ribeira Sacra in Spain’s northern latitudes, to Méntrida and Cebreros of central Spain, Bullas in the south, to Valle de la Oratava of the Spanish Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco and Western Sahara.

The sparkling wine scene is also being set a-bubble by a shift from the Cava region’s Champagne-like creations to Corpinnat sparklers from the Penedès region, whose production is strictly defined as using 100% organic indigenous grapes, hand-picked and manually processed from start to finish on-premises.

An impressive crowd received a firsthand look at this exciting expansion at the recent eponymously titled Viñateros event, held this past February at Lindley Hall in Victoria, London. Back for its third round since its founding in 2017, Viñateros is a showcase of Spanish wines hosted by UK importers. Roughly 500 distinct wines were poured in celebration of indigenous grapes, regenerative farming, and the revival of ancient winemaking traditions. In addition to Tempranillo and Garnacha, some 80 different grape varieties went into the making of the uncorked vintages.

Good news is in store for wine aficionados and hispanophiles across the pond – American wine importer Eric Solomon of European Cellars has plans in the works to bring an American version of Viñateros to the States within the next two years. The exact location and date of this rumored event has yet to be announced, so don’t buy your plane tickets quite yet.

We'd consider the Gramona La Cuvee Corpinatt a new wave Spanish wine.

In any case, here are five must-try Spanish wines.

Gramona La Cuvée Corpinnat

Leaving behind the Cava designation to join the Corpinnat (“heart of Penedès”) sparkling wine criteria, Gramona is doing things the organic and biodynamic way. This fizzy bottle is a blend of Xarel·lo, Macabeu, Chardonnay, and Parellada grapes.

Itsasmendi Artizar

Sustainability-focused Itsasmendi stands out for its commitment to micro production and experimentation. This unique white, inspired by the Bizkaiko Txakolina style, is made from Hondarrabi Zuri, Hondarrabi Zuri Zerratie, and Lore Makala cultivars.

Carlos Serres Tempranillo Old Vines

This wine is an updated revival of traditional Tempranillo. Using a non-interventionist approach with open-top fermenters, extended oak aging, and old-growth grape vines, the winery behind this bottle is upping the ante on Spanish classics.

César Márquez Pico Ferreira

César Márquez is Spain’s only winery boasting its very own beekeeping program, helping promote the region’s biodiversity and sustainability. This spicy red is made predominantly from Mencía grapes.

Terroir Al Límit Soc. Lda Torroja 

Terroir Al Límit hails from the Priorat winemaking region, and has been led by Dominik Huber since 2001. This fruity wine is composed of the grape varieties Cariñena and Garnacha.

[Photos courtesy of Gramona]


Lotte Karolina Gabrovits

Lotte Karolina Gabrovits is a wine expert with the “VinoVoss” AI Sommelier wine search engine and recommendation system developed by BetterAI. Gabrovits is an experienced wine educator, consultant, and international judge. Lotte holds multiple degrees, including a B.Sc. and double degree M.Sc. in Horticulture, specializing in Viticulture and Oenology from TU Munich/Corvinus University Budapest. She also obtained a second MA in International Wine Marketing from Eisenstadt in Austria. Lotte’s passion for exploring wine regions has taken her through renowned areas like Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne. This passion led her to establish her own consultancy business, GL Wine Consulting, where she promotes wine education worldwide. Reach her at 

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