The 20th Century was only one decade old when Serafín Fernandez and María Núñez departed their homeland of Galicia, setting out for Argentina and its promise of, perhaps not pots of gold, but certainly gainful employment and its inherent rewards.
Farmers by trade, the couple stuck to what they knew best before, almost ten years later in 1919, they acquired government-owned land in the foothills of the Andes in an area which was in critical need of skilled and knowledgeable labour: Uco Valley.
‘The land was over 1,100m above sea level, and the extreme temperatures tested all the experience that Serafín Fernandez and María Nuñez had accumulated chasing the harvests of grapes, potatoes and cereals throughout Spain,’ says Ricardo Núñez, grandson of Serafin and Maria, and General Director of Vinos de La Luz.
‘The second and third generations grew up smelling grapes and walking with muddy feet through the furrows of Mendoza,’ recalls Núñez. ‘For us, high altitude means open land, more water from the Andes and the possibility to work hard alongside this terrain to produce wines that bear their seal of origin.’
In the 1980s and 1990s that desire to realise a sense of place in its wines led Vinos de La Luz further afield, it embarking on projects in two of Europe’s most iconic territories: Italy’s Montalcino and Spain’s Ribera del Duero. Each property is located on premium terroir and are also planted at relatively lofty heights for their respective regions.
As with the original Mendoza torchbearer, they almost immediately captured fans and followers in countries throughout the world. Tellingly, these commercial successes were also partnered by glowing critical acclaim in addition to a raft of major international trophies, gold medals and high scores, not least for the 2015 Paraje Altamira Malbec from Mendoza which won a Best in Show trophy and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (the competition also saw Vinos de La Luz’s 2015 Peñafiel Limited Edition from Ribera del Duero scoring 90 points).
‘Our new challenge was to truly know about other national varietals from other countries,’ explains Núñez on this expansion back towards his family’s roots. ‘These are wines which represent the roadmap of wine history all the way back to 4000BC. It has taken a huge amount of effort, but now we have wineries in Argentina, Italy and Spain. In 2021 we will release our first Syrah harvest from Santa Monica in California, then the following year we will truly inaugurate the ancient world with our Saperavi wines from Kakheti Valley in Georgia.’
The Núñez family is still clearly chasing grape harvests, although nowadays it’s a globe-trotting affair and one which does come with an almost-guaranteed sprinkling of gold dust.
If you want to know more about Los Vinos de La Luz de Ribera del Duero, Uco Valley and Tuscany, go to www.vinosdelaluz.com