Entrepreneurial acumen and passion seldom go hand in hand; one attribute tends to take over, ultimately leading a company’s strategy and ethos. The wine sector, however, is an exception. Key stakeholders in wine businesses often create commercial success because of a fundamental love of their country’s land, history and culture working in tandem with a savvy understanding of how to deliver quality and value.
J. García-Carrión is a perfect example of this synergy. It has played a key role in Spain’s ubiquitous presence on wine shelves and lists around the world. With an innovative take on tradition and a profound knowledge of the country’s potential as a leading wine-producer, J. García-Carrión has built some of Spain’s most recognisable brands, while also crafting award-winning limited editions.
130 years as pioneers
J. García-Carrión’s roots go back to 1890, when the company’s founder built a new winery in Jumilla. With extensive experience as a wine trader in Murcia, Cartagena, Lorca and Almería, García-Carrión took this timely and strategic step just as exports to France – where phylloxera had caused a dramatic shortage of wines – were peaking.
This opportune timing allowed J. García-Carrión to consolidate and scale production, paving the way for commercial success and laying the groundwork for future generations to flourish and expand. D. José García- Carrión – the founder’s great grandson – began a revolution both for the direction of the company and Spanish wine when he joined the business in 1968, aged 19.
A new era begins
José García-Carrión, alongside his wife Fala Corujo took a novel approach, focused on marketing and brand development, that saw the creation of the iconic Don Simón wine in 1980. The brand eventually expanded to cover a broad range of products, including juices, soups and the ubiquitous Don Simón Sangria.
In 1997, José García-Carrión’s son, Luciano García-Carrión, took over the commercial and marketing departments, building on the company’s phenomenal success by expanding international distribution into more than 150 countries. Launching wines from different regions and DOS under a single umbrella brand allied the company to maintain a strong presence in established markets like Europe and the US, whilst also flourishing in emerging regions like Asia and West Africa. Pata Negra’s acclaim in Mexico and the growing popularity of flagship wines in South America stand as the shining examples of the strategy’s success.
From crafting accessible, high- quality wines for a broad international audience to curating flagship wines sourced from selected old vineyards, the company has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to showcasing the distinct terroirs, grape varieties and appellations of Spain. This success cements J. García Carrión’s position as a versatile industry player able to meet the needs of varied international consumer tastes, and also underscores its innovative prowess in navigating the evolving landscape of the global wine market.
The company’s efforts have been consistently recognised by international wine critics and journalists – not least at Decanter’s own World Wine Awards (DWWA). Bodega La Ermita Cepas Viejas Monastrell DO Jumilla 2019 was awarded a Gold Medal by Decanter judges this year. First released 40 years ago, the wine was crafted with care and precision, receiving a 96-point nod from the DWWA judges. They praised the ‘rich, savoury plum, cherry, earthy and liquorice’ notes and were seduced by the ‘big and bold’ limited edition, which hails from ungrafted old Monastrell vines – describing it as ‘an engaging wine with lots going on’.
The Jumilla’s Rioja counterpart – Bodega La Ermita DOCa Rioja 2019 – also stood out, scooping a Silver Medal with 94 points. Produced with fruit from a high-altitude south-facing plot of Tempranillo at the foot of the Sierra Cantabria (one of the highest elevation sites in the DOCa Rioja), the judges loved the ‘restrained vanilla, cedar, red plum nose’. A dash of Graciano certainly contributed to the wine’s overall balance and well-integrated tannins.
Excellence at all levels
2023 has been extraordinary for the wines of J. García-Carrión, which were recognised at all levels across multiple competitions – earning over 800 medals so far – demonstrating the company’s expertise and commitment to delivering quality and character at all price points. Mayor de Castilla Roble DO Ribera del Duero 2022, Pata Negra Roble DO Ribera del Duero 2022, Jaume Serra Brut Nature DO Cava and Mayoral Reservado DO Jumilla all received Silver Medals with a score of 90 points at the DWWA.
An emphasis on sustainability
J. García-Carrión’s sustainable viticultural practices, environmental awareness and consumer-centric approach fortify its firm business ethics. The company addresses climate challenges by employing a 360° sustainability strategy, and leveraging technology and innovation to reduce and neutralise its carbon footprint. It seamlessly blends tradition with innovation, making sustainability integral to its story of success.