“Our wines adapt to varied experiences”

We travel the world with our wines. 12m bottles in 40 countries make Rioja's Muriel Wines a benchmark of global experience. This is a talk with the group's current heads: Julián Murúa and son Javier Murúa.

– How is the global wine market for you now?

Javier: It is is extremely diverse and atomised, and increasingly formed by individuals rather than big segments. One person may like to have a classic wine today and a young one tomorrow, a vibrant and tasty white with the lunch and a deep and complex red for dinner. Or vice versa.

– There are no strict rules, then.

Javier: Fortunately! And this is good for us because our different lines adapt to varied people and experiences of consumption.

– What is the key factor to your wine range?

Julián: The first thing is that they define their origin land, Rioja Alavesa, and in particular, the town of Elciego, which is the birthplace of Rioja wines as they’re understood today.

Javier: We seek to reflect both the place and a way of understanding the world of wine: affordable, versatile, nearby. The wines are fresh and balanced, kind and reliable.

Julian: Yes, that’s the generic personality and from it, we look for the uniqueness of each range in particular: Muriel, Eguía, Viña Muriel, Marqués de Elciego…

– How are they different?

Javier: Muriel is our reference brand, of honest wines, representative of Elciego and Rioja Alavesa. Viña Eguía is perhaps a more generic and open line. Both brands play with the sense of everyday life, kindness and sharing.

– Where do you place Viña Muriel and Marqués de Elciego brands?

Julian: At the highest end. They seek to extol the winemaking tradition of Rioja and the respect for our own history.

Javier: Marqués de Elciego, specifically, is the brand with a lower production and is defined by its complexity, and sense of transcendence.

– Conde de los Andes recently joined the porfolio.

Julian: Yes, a year ago we acquired the Conde de los Andes winery in Ollauri, Rioja. Its jewel is a very old, spectacular underground system of ageing caves, called “calados”.

Javier: It gives us a new dimension, linked to a historic brand and a place with many possibilities. Thus we cover all areas: from a mass-market approach with Eguía and the regional wines brand Real Compañía, to the most exclusive and highly symbolic names.

– Where are consumers now?

Javier: Anywhere. In major global cities and in our own village. At their homes, in a bustling bar, in haute-cuisine restaurants.

Julian: Everywhere we’ve earned a high level of respect and consideration. I think the key is that the market perceives that our wine is both genuine and modern, that we are reliable and that, in a very natural way, we have a foot on the vineyard and the other in the world.

Besides the main winemaing activity, Muriel Wines sponsors a charity foundation. What is its aim?

Julián: We created MAGA Foundation in 2009 to promote and support projects for children in developing nations. So far we’ve fostered projects in Cambodia and Sierra Leone.

– Javier: MAGA is building nursery schools, clean water wells and children shelters. We’ve launched a special wine to fund these projects. In exchange for a 35 Euro donation people get a magnum bottle and a book of photos.

Written by eleanor douglas