Find out more about the latest news from the GOCV, its events and members.
NEW BOOK: 50 Years of Rioja
17 January, 2022
GOCV member, Jeremy Watson publishes new book on Rioja
Caballero Jeremy Watson sends news of his new book: Fifty Years of Rioja. He writes: it’s ’a personal account of the dramatic progression in Spain’s wine region during an exciting and transformative period in the region’s history both in its wines and infrastructure. I visited annually, often many times each year, and witnessed the doubling of its area of vineyards, growth in production and improvements in the winemaking process as its popularity and sales soared across the world.’
Published on Amazon in print and Kindle.
Report: Spain’s 2021 Wine Harvest
January 2022 Text: Patricia Langton
An unusually cool year and a challenging harvest define wine styles
Spain’s viticultural year followed a different pattern in 2021 constantly keeping growers on their toes as they faced numerous challenges right through to the harvest itself. In January Storm Philomena was the first major climatic event bringing with it significant snow to replenish water in the soils but also extremely low temperatures which damaged more exposed vineyards. Its impact was most significant in Castile La Mancha where yields were down by up to 50% and other continental regions were also affected.
The cold winter was followed by a fresh spring and a far cooler summer with just two brief hot periods in June and August. It was also very dry giving rise to vine stress – at least in vineyards without irrigation – and very gradual vine development by the end of the summer. Then it was all change when rain finally started to fall in September and continued, on and off, for almost the entire month. While the water was welcome to allow grapes to develop and reach full and balanced ripeness, vineyards required close monitoring to maintain vine health. There were difficult decisions over whether to pick or wait and when the harvest was under way it was often interrupted due to rain.
Almudena Albarca MW described 2021 as “the first cool harvest since 2010” and for many it recalled a more traditional vintage after a number of much warmer years. As for quality and style winemakers describe wines with considerable freshness and vibrancy, tamer alcohol levels that reflect a cooler year, good complexity and strong varietal character. In summary there are high hopes for distinctive and rewarding wines from 2021.
Spain’s 2021 harvest (estimate): 39 million hectolitres, wine and must. A modest yield and lower than the average of recent years.*
Thankfully better weather followed, particularly in October, with a combination of fine, sunny weather and favourably wide temperature variations between day and night. The latter part of the harvest was therefore more manageable and particularly beneficial for later ripening varieties and areas.
* Source: Observatorio Español del Mercado del Vino, www.oemv.es
Monika’s accolade at the World Cheese Awards
The GOCV would like to send its congratulatinos to Monika Linton, founder of Brindisa and GOCV member, on receiving a trophy from the Guild of Fine Food for her exceptional contribution to Cheese at the World Cheese Awards 2021-2022, in recognition for the last 34 years of working with Spanish cheese makers. Bravo!
Three new Caballeros Invested into the Gran Orden
Three new Caballeros have been invested into the Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino: Owen Morgan, Bar 44 Group Wales; José Pizarro, José Pizarro Restaurants and Peter Sisseck, Dominio de Pingus and Viña Corrales, Spain.
All recognised for the outstanding contribution to Spanish wine in Spain and the UK.
21 October 2021
After a two year absence, the 36th Caballeros Investiture Dinner took place at London’s Savoy, last night, with its usual style and vibrancy and in the presence of the new Spanish Ambassador to London, his Excellency José Pascual Marco Martínez, and the General Director of ICEX, Ms. Elisa Carbonell.
This year’s investiture welcomed three new members to the Orden. They are renowned for their unstinting work and commitment to Spanish wine, as winemakers, restaurateurs and communicators. These three were elected by their peers to join this influential group which was founded in 1985 by Wines from Spain.
Owen Morgan, owner, Bar 44 Group a great lover of Spanish wines, and in particular Sherry and the Cádiz region of Andalucía, is a Certified Sherry educator. Co-owner of the Bar 44 group of bars and restaurants, he has gathered many well-deserved accolades along the way, including one of the Best 25 New Restaurants in the UK and one of the top 50 influencers in the UK restaurant and bar trade.
José Pizarro, owner, José Pizarro Restaurants is originally from the beautiful village of Talaván in Cáceres, Extremadura. José considers London his home, and his mantra of simplicity along with his charm and enthusiasm for Spanish food has led to regular appearances on television. Often to be found on BBC 1’s Saturday Kitchen, José has also appeared on Sunday Brunch, This Morning on ITV, Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose, Rick Stein’s Christmas, Food Network’s The Big Eat and James Martin’s Saturday Morning.
Peter Sisseck, owner and winemaker, Dominio de Pingus was born in Copenhagen (Denmark). He studied in Bordeaux and arrived at Ribera del Duero in 1990. He began as general manager at Hacienda Monasterio and in 1995 launched Pingus, a wine of great significance in the modern history of Spanish wine. In Bordeaux he is a partner of Chateau Rocheyron in Saint Emilion. Most recently, following his firm belief that “Fino is Spain’s greatest white wine”, he acquired a bodega and vineyards in Jerez, launching Fino Viña Corrales.
The three Caballeros invested in 2020 were also honoured at the beginning of the evening. Richard Bigg, Managing Director, Camino Group, Manuel Muga, Executive Vice-president of Bodegas Muga and Norrel Robertson MW, winemaker, El Escocés Volante.
Commenting on the investiture, Sarah Jane Evans MW, Chair of the GOCV said, “”It was terrific to be back together in person once more celebrating Spain. The Dinner has always been a highlight for the wine world; and this year was particularly special, after so long apart. We were all delighted to welcome our new Caballeros and congratulate them on their very significant work on behalf of Spain’s fine wines.”
The Caballeros Dinner is Back
16 October, 2021
The annual Caballeros Investiture dinner is back again this autumn. Following a two year absence from the UK wine trade’s calendar of must-attend events, the dinner that celebrates the excellence of Spanish wines and producers will take place on the 21st October at the Savoy Hotel, London.
The event is renowned for being the UK wine trade’s best formal dinner. This year will be held to celebrate the investiture of three new Caballeros from the UK and Spain, and to honour the three Caballeros who were announced in 2020, but have not yet been formally invested.
The Caballeros invested into the Order in 2020 – Richard Bigg, Camino Group, London; Manuel Muga, Bodegas Muga, Haro; and Norrel Robertson MW, El Escocés Volante, Calatayud – will be formally welcomed into the Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino at the dinner this October. They will be joined by three new Caballeros whose identity will be revealed on the night.
New Caballeros are elected in recognition of their unique contributions to the Spanish wine business. The new members are inaugurated at the annual investiture dinner in central London. Among their number are winemakers, winery owners, importers, retailers, restaurateurs, educators, journalists and broadcasters. Led by a small team of committee members, the GOCV provides an unrivalled network for Spanish wines in the UK.
Tickets for the event can be purchased from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most significant changes to Sherry regulations in 50 years
14 September, 2021
Following Patricia Langton’s news article in The Drinks Business on 8th September we’ve received the following information from the Consejo in Jerez with full details of the all planned changes.
Muga makes its mark
9 April, 2021
“LOS QUE DEJAN HUELLA III” Those who leave a mark” is a publication of KPMH Spain which profiles 40 companies of great merit chosen from across the whole of Spanish industry. Each profile features a significant person, not only from that company, but the sector they are involved in. The whole book is an impressive reminder of the breadth and capability of Spanish companies active today often with many years of achievement behind them.
Manuel Muga, of the eponymously named bodega, has been chosen as a representative for the wine sector, and the pages written about him and the family company make fascinating reading. Covering the history of the bodega from its foundation, the constant quest for improvement has enabled it to become the icon of quality and integrity it is today, still family owned, and occupying its idiosyncratic bodega in the Barrio de Estación in Haro.
Manuel and the Muga family are to be congratulated on their combined and sustained efforts which have given their bodega world-wide renown.
No doubt fellow members of the GOCV will be pleased to join in sending their heartiest congratulations to Manuel and look forward to doing so personally when next we all meet.
GOCV Scholar wins Vintners Cup
22 March, 2021
2017 GOCV Scholar Mary Wright has been awarded the WSET Vintners Cup as the top Diploma scholar for 2020/2021. When she won her scholarship she was working in logistics at Liberty Wines. She is now the Sogrape Iberia Brand Ambassador at Liberty.
The members of GOCV congratulate Mary on this very high level achievement and wish her well in her future career.
Three new Caballeros announced
Monday 20 July, 2020
Three new Caballeros have been invested into the Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino: Richard Bigg, Managing Director, Camino Group, (middle image) Manuel Muga, Executive Vice-president of Bodegas Muga (on right above)and Norrel Robertson MW, winemaker (on left above). All recognised for the outstanding contribution to Spanish wine promotion in the Spain and the UK
Despite the unprecedented circumstances and the postponement of the spectacular Caballeros annual dinner every March, the decision has been taken to announce the investiture of three well-known members of the Spanish and British wines trade in to the Gran Orden.
Renowned for unstinting work and commitment to Spanish wine promotion in the UK these three industry professionals are extremely worthy candidates to join this auspicious group. They are:
Richard Bigg, Managing Director, Camino Group who said, upon his investiture, that he is “absolutely delighted to have had the honour of being welcomed into the Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino. I’ve been thrilled to discover ever more about Spanish wines for a long time, and it feels wonderful to be a part of such a prestigious group.”
Manuel Muga, Executive Vice-president of Bodegas Muga, commented that it is “a great honour for me, as a representative of the Muga family, to receive this recognition. It’s really a pity that the present situation with Covid has, for the moment, prevented us from celebrating an event which gives so much recognition and prestige to Spanish wines’
Norrel Robertson MW, winemaker and founder of ‘El Escocés Volante’, said, “ It is a great honour to be invited join such an illustrious group of professionals who have given so much to Spanish wine. I have had the privilege of bringing up a family and setting up business in Spain and hope that together we can keep on communicating all that is great about Spanish wine, culture and lifestyle.”
Unfortunately the three new Caballeros have not been able to meet with fellow Caballeros yet to celebrate the occasion but they will enjoy their moment of glory at the next Investiture Dinner in 2021.
Commenting on the investiture, Sarah Jane Evans MW, Chair of the GOCV said, “The members of the Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino are elected for their outstanding achievement working with quality wines from Spain. This year we are delighted to welcome 3 really exceptional Caballeros: Richard Bigg, who is a dynamic ambassador for Spanish wine in the On Trade in the UK; Manuel ‘Manu’ Muga, who, working with his generation, has transformed his family business into an internationally recognised symbol of fine Rioja; and Norrel Robertson MW, an award-winning maker of his wines, but also a highly-regarded consultant winemaker across Spain.”
Maria Peña, Maria Peña, CEO of ICEX in Spain and Chancellor of the GOCV, said, “I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations and a warm welcome to the three new members of the Gran Orden. Their invaluable contributions will undoubtedly continue the Gran Orden’s work of raising the prestige of Spanish wines in the UK. I wish to express my gratitude to the Gran Orden for your continuous effort and dedication in promoting the excellence of our wines.”
“For the first time since the GOCV was founded in 1984, we have had to delay our investiture ceremony, in light of the official guidelines for large gatherings due to COVID-19. However, we look forward to marking the occasion and celebrating together in 2021”.
36th Investiture dinner UPDATE
The GOCV confirms that its 36th Annual Investiture dinner for 2020 has been delayed until 2021. Details to follow in due course.
Monday 15 June, 2020
Monday 15 June, 2020
Caballeros will be very sad to hear of the death of David Balls, from a combination of Covid-19 and heart failure. Read his obituary.
Sarah Jane Evans MW appointed chair
Sarah Jane Evans MW has been appointed the new Chairman of the Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino.
Her appointment to the role was carried unanimously by the GOCV’s 63 members which includes some of the UK and Spain’s most renowned and respected wine trade professionals, journalists and winery owners.
She takes over from Nick Room, ex-Waitrose buyer and director at RT Wine Solutions, who held the position for 10 years and follows on from a long line of Spanish wine experts who have held the position since the GOCV was founded in 1984.
Commenting on her appointment, Sarah Jane Evans MW said, “I am touched and excited to have been elected Chairman. It was an enormous privilege to become a Caballero, and I have so enjoyed being part of a network of exceptional people in the UK and Spain. Along with the new Steering Committee, I look forward to continuing our work of educating about and promoting Spanish wine. This is more important than ever in these difficult times.”
Fernando Muñoz Naranjo, Director of Foods, Wines and Gastronomy at the Spanish Commercial Office in London, added, “We would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to Sarah Jane for being appointed Chair of one of the most eminent organisations in the field of Spanish wines.” He continued, “The GOCV is one of our most important partnerships and we look forward to a fruitful collaboration. We also wish to express our sincere gratitude to Nick Room, for his decade-long leadership and dedication to the GOCV.”
Wednesday 8 April, 2020
Caballeros will be very sorry to hear of the death of Iñigo Cañedo, a good friend to many, who worked tirelessly in the promotion of Spanish wines for some twenty years.
The news also came today of the death from Covid-19 of Alfonso Cortina, who established the Pago de Vallegarcia, which became a DOP in June 2019.
Coronavirus – GOCV announcement
Monday 6 April, 2020
A message from GOCV Chair, Nick Room
The Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino has for 36 years stood alongside the Spanish wine industry with members from both the UK and Spain. Never has this friendship been more important than today, in the face of this global health challenge.
With a membership drawn from every aspect of the world of wine – producers, restaurateurs, buyers, journalists – as Caballeros we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our friends working for Spanish wine in Spain, and in the UK, together with Wines from Spain, their wine committees, promotions agencies and event organisers.
When we re-emerge, then we will meet again with renewed energy.
In the meantime we encourage those is desperate need in the UK drinks industry to contact The Drinks Trust.
New date confirmed 36th Investiture dinner
Thursday 2 April, 2020
Following the announcement that the annual GOCV dinner had to be postponed we are delighted to confirm a new date has now been secured: Thursday 22 October, 2020.
All ticket holders have been contact directly. If you have any queries please contact the organisers by email, click here.
New GOCV Scholar announced
Wednesday 22 January, 2020
The Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino is delighted to announce that the 2020 recipient of its annual WSET Diploma prize has been awarded to Tom Boddy, retail support manager, Majestic Wine.
As part of the prize, the GOCV will host Tom on an educational trip round Spain’s leading wine regions later this year and also welcome him as an honorary member for 2020 at the GOCV investiture dinner in London in March.
I fell in love with wine on family holidays to the Languedoc in my early teens, and knew that I wanted to explore more about the subject. After finishing my university studies (studying French, Spanish & Catalan at the University of Birmingham) I began working for Majestic Wine. Whilst working across our stores in the West Midlands, I worked my way up through the WSET qualifications, culminating in receiving the Diploma in January 2020. Five years since I joined the company, I now work at Majestic Support Centre in Watford, dealing with our network of 200 stores on a daily basis. Outside of work, my hobbies include playing and watching sport, cooking and learning to play the bass guitar. I am excited to continue working in wine for the rest of my career and to see how far in the industry I can progress!Tom Boddy, 2020 WSET Diploma Prize winner: Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino
35th Annual Investiture Dinner
Wednesday 6 March, 2019
The Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino annual dinner event, held on Tuesday 5th March, welcomed members and their guests to honour two new Caballeros who were officially inducted into the order: Pierre Mansour and Paul Shinnie.
The ceremony was officiated by His Excellency, the Ambassador of Spain, Don Carlos Bastarreche Sagües, and the CEO of ICEX, María Peña Mateos.
Hosted at The Dorchester Hotel, guests dined on a menu inspired by Spain and prepared by chef Mario Perera, paired with — unsurprisingly — a superb selection of Spanish wines.
New 2019 Caballeros announced
Wednesday 6 March, 2019
The Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino is delighted to announce two new members have been elected in 2019; Pierre Mansour, head of buying, The Society; and Paul Shinnie, buyer, Alliance Wines.
Mansour is an industry veteran and is currently the head of buying for The Wine Society. He sources the Spanish wines and, during his tenure, sales of those wines have increased notably. As he has a close relationship with many top winemakers from Spain, he has special access to some of their best and most unusual wines.
Shinnie has extensive experience in importing and retail and he used to run wine import company Vinites UK. His focus there was on providing the UK market with top quality wines from Spain, especially ones from lesser known regions. He eventually sold it to Alliance Wine and joined their team as a buyer.
Following these two appointments the GOCV currently has 66 active members.