Interview with Gregorio López de Lerma
Interview with Gregorio López de Lerma
La Encomienda is a wine company that was born in Valdepeñas in 2015, although the dream of creating it, of its owners, Gregorio and José López de Lerma and José Luis del Olmo, began in 2011. Today, after becoming known in Valdepeñas, province and region, for its wines, are among the most demanded. In advaldepeñas, we have interviewed one of its owners, Gregorio López de Lerma.
Oretano and Orissón are very characteristic wines, with history, Author, minerals that grow in a land located in a unique enclave: the vicinity of Cerro de las Cabezas and, as a tribute to those first settlers who made the land from which these , was fruitful.
A dream come true
La Encomienda is a dream come true, as you say, but what does it contribute to the world of wine and gastronomy in La Mancha different and new?
– These wines provide a different concept and model of viticulture in this area with a long history of winemaking. For us the most important thing is the vineyard, the soil, the environment and our hand as a viticulturist who lives in harmony with nature, where we seek that each varietal develops and expresses its maximum oenological potential. Undoubtedly this guarantees us a unique, complex product, full of nuances but, at the same time, simple and capable of satisfying the most demanding palates.
How are your wines? And tell me about the brands you have.
– Our products are different. They have their own identity and reflect the soil, the low production and the Mediterranean forest that flanks the plot where the vines are grown; that terroir flavor, its minerality with hints of cocoa, cherry liqueur, provided by the volcanic rock of quartz and granite. The aromatic plants of that understory and, of course, the four varieties with which they are made: Cencibel, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
The brands are a tribute to our history, our culture and our origins as oretanos, with a deep emotional component and an absolute commitment to our history, since the Orissón brand will annually revert part of the income it generates to the Cerro de las Cabezas Iberian deposit. for its maintenance, conservation and development. Not in vain, the motto of this brand is “The wine that tells the story of a people”.
How do you sell your wines and where? And if you have already had the opportunity to export?
I can say that to date we are focusing our efforts at the provincial and regional level, positioning the product exclusively in the hotel, restaurant and specialty stores channel, although it is true that we are beginning to do some dabbling in the north of the country and Levante.
Our main objective is the positioning and consolidation of current brands, that the consumer identifies us as a unique product, with its own well-defined identity, taking into account that it is a project that has just taken its first steps, that production is limited , that until 2018 there will not be and the new Orissón and Oretano wines will be released. We look at the foreign market slowly and cautiously but, undoubtedly, we will make the leap to exports.
We know the demands of the consumer, every day better trained, who is looking for authentic and natural products. We try to bring the wine from the hands that work it on the earth to his glass.
Are things being done well around the wine with respect to the consumer so that he knows it and drinks it?
In this section I have to acknowledge that the measures undertaken have not yielded satisfactory results. In three to four decades we have gone from having a “per capita” consumption of 60 liters per inhabitant per year, to just 12 liters today, according to the data of the latest study. Although it is true that some of the measures adopted by the former Minister of Health to try to classify wine as an alcoholic beverage and not as food have done us a lot of harm, together with the unfortunate television campaigns of the DGT.
In addition to the above, we need to organize and structure the sector and provide it with economic resources to reverse this trend, just as other competitors are doing with other beverages that contain alcohol and carry out large media campaigns covering and sponsoring large events worldwide, see for example the soccer Eurocup.
To tell the truth, I feel a certain envy every time I watch a film, especially American, and I observe how wine appears systematically in many of its films to celebrate, enjoy or just relax. A glass of wine appears in the actor / actress’s hand!
In my opinion they are beginning to take steps in the right direction by creating, at the national level, the Interprofesional del vino.
What does wine mean for our region?
Both the vine and the wine are part of our tradition, diet, culture and history. It is one of the most important economic pillars in the region. It molds our semi-desert climate landscape and fixes population in the rural environment. They contribute to curbing desertification and climate change by sequestering much of the CO2 emitted by today’s society, turning it into food and wood.
We have the largest concentration of vineyards in the world with 650,000 cultivated hectares of great diversity, which gives enormous economic potential. The harshness of our climate, together with the low annual rainfall, means that in most seasons our products are practically organic compared to those of other wine-growing areas.
Not in vain, from the outside we are beginning to be called “the awakening of the great colossus” that has the potential to lead the world wine trade in the not too distant future.
And for the Mediterranean diet and the health of those who consume it?
Everyone knows the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, where one of the star products is wine. There are many scientific studies that show that moderate wine intake, especially when accompanying meals, provides great benefits for our health, preventing the dreaded cardiovascular diseases, slowing down cellular aging and generally strengthening the immune system.
Hence the popular wisdom and our rich proverb that collect what has been learned over generations by our ancestors: “drink wine and eat ham and you will not suffer from the heart.”
Castilla-La Mancha is the largest vineyard in the world. How do you see the sector from your perspective?
During the last decades there has been a large-scale varietal reconversion and restructuring causing that today we are one of the most competitive wine regions in the world, having one of the most attractive quality / price ratios in the global market. All of this provides us with tremendous development potential to lead the market in the medium term.
We just need to believe in ourselves, organize and structure the sector that has already shown signs of dynamism and adaptability.
At La Encomienda we have the firm intention of making the best wines made in this production area and we have the absolute conviction that “the best is yet to come.”
La Encomienda wines can be purchased through the online store www.vinoslaencomienda.es