Don Ramón Bilbao Murga was a man ahead of his time – a man who sought to travel the world with his wine, spreading the message of its connection to the land that bore it. In keeping with its founder’s desire to push boundaries and explore new frontiers of wine, today, Bodegas Ramón Bilbao is facing the manifold challenges of climate change head on. In fact, it’s setting the standard for environmentally conscious wineries in La Rioja.
For Ramón Bilbao, work in the vineyard, the winery and the market are of equal importance. For this reason, Ramón Bilbao focuses its efforts equally on each of these structural pillars.
In the vineyard, under the expert supervision of technical director and winemaker Rodolfo Bastida, the business is continually looking for ways to reveal the potential for terroir expression in its Rioja wines. Bastida and his team have successfully charted new high-altitude locations for its Viñedos de Altura range of wines. The results offer an exciting glimpse into a new direction for Rioja wines, focusing on freshness, elegance and purity of expression.
Ramón Bilbao applies precision agriculture techniques, preventing unnecessary intervention and improving efficiency. These techniques are combined with research and development to support ecosystems and biodiversity, whilst reducing reliance on phytosanitary products as much as possible.
‘Sustainability has long been a priority at Rámon Bilbao,’ says Bastida. ‘Years of continuous effort to minimise our environmental impact, protect the legacy of Spanish wine and preserve its future have taken shape in a sustainability action plan and allowed us to join the leading International Wineries for Climate Action,’ he explains.
In the winery, Ramón Bilbao has set bold targets to reach by 2025. Firstly, it is looking to convert to 100% renewable energy across the company; reducing CO2eq emissions by 15%. Secondly, the winery is working on the reduction of waste, thanks to the construction of a new treatment plant which will make 99% of waste recoverable. Another forward-thinking achievement is the reduction in the weight of its wine bottles, and recycled materials now sourced for labels and cases.
The winery is also pursuing the understanding of the soils and microbiology of its vineyards. Ramón Bilbao’s efforts towards promoting sustainable practices have led it to receive wine sector-specific certification for environmental sustainability by the International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA).
Ramón Bilbao is eager to meet the demands of an environmentally conscious consumer marketplace. Beyond using sustainable alternatives and practices in the vineyard, the company is looking into using lesser-known grape varieties in their wines.
Ramón Bilbao has always prided itself on revising the use of traditional ingredients like Tempranillo and American wood barrels by approaching production differently. The winery’s philosophy includes nine principles, which it says provide the ‘Ramón Bilbao twist’ and as one of the most admired wine producers in Spain, it seems to be reading the market right.