Major Spanish producer Codorníu is investing millions of Euros in a non-appellation region - in order to avoid DO regulations.

Codorníu – best known for its highly-rated Cava – wants freedom to plant different grape varieties and is opening a new winery in Bellver de Cinca, Huesca, halfway between group headquarters in Barcelona its property in Rioja.

The area’s climate and soil conditions are favourable, and similar to nearby Somontano and Costers del Segre.

A spokeswoman said, ‘The decision to establish a winery outside a DO has to do with our wish to enjoy greater freedom and avoid the lack of flexibility imposed by DO regulations. In particular, this will enable us to make wines at more affordable prices.’

In addition to Cava, Codorníu produces still wines in Penedès under the rated Masía Bach label, in Costers del Segre (Raimat), Rioja (Bodegas Bilbaínas), Priorat (Scala Dei), Ribera del Duero (Legaris ), Napa Valley (Artesa) and Mendoza, Argentina (Septima).

Codorníu is investing €24m (US$21m) in the new winery, called Nuviana. It should produce some 45,000 hectolitres of red, white and rosé wine. Codorníu has no qualms about making top quality wine in such huge quantities.

The spokeswoman said, ‘We work the vineyards directly and will be producing wines with the same quality criteria as those we make elsewhere.’

The new wines will be called Vinos de la Tierra del Valle de Cinca – Cinca Valley wines, and will be made from Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo and Syrah.

Written by Alan Spencer11 February 2002