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Fire destroys Rioja bodega

A devastating fire has entirely destroyed Rioja's Bodegas Señorio de Villarrica.

The destroyed bodega on Sunday. (Image: Agencia EFE)

Flames swept through the winery, in the village of Hervias in Rioja Alta, in the early hours of Sunday morning, consuming most of its buildings and 400,000 litres of wine in bottles and barrels.

The Rioja community reacted with ‘horror and amazement’ when news of the fire became known, Spanish newspaper El Pais reported.

The cause of the blaze, which happened around five o’clock Sunday morning, is as yet unknown, though it is understood to have started in the kitchen of the winery and spread rapidly.

No one was injured in the fire, which was brought under control by midday on Sunday, with emergency services working thoughout the day to prevent further outbreaks and investigate its cause.

The intense heat of the flames collapsed the roof of the cellar, which held 1,500 barrels, destroying almost all of them and damaging others.

Rioja’s first minister Pedro Sanz confirmed that the bodega was ‘totally destroyed and offered his condolences to the Fernandez family, owners of Villarrica, whose ‘roots run deep in the community of Rioja and the local wine world.’

Pablo Fernandez, who owns the winery with his three siblings, said the winery ‘was the culmination of many years of work and dedication to the wine world. It has been destroyed, and the damage will be far-reaching.’

He added that thanks to another winery that the group has in Rioja, they will be able to continue making wine.

The Señorio de Villarrica Delicia De Baco 2009 won Silver at the Decanter World Wine Awards this year.
The investigation into the causes of the fire continues.

Written by Adam Lechmere in Rioja

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