'We traveled from vineyard to vineyard and made wine all over the world. Now we own nine and a half hectares of vineyards in the Emporda, Spain.
We are Dido & Jurriaan. We share a passion: wine. We traveled from vineyard to vineyard to make wine all over the world. We finally set our foot down in the region of Alt Emporda in Spain, where we found 9,5 hectares of planted vineyards in the natural reserve of L'Albera. The coming years we will convert these organic vineyards to biodynamic principles. From these grapes we make natural wine without added sulphites.
After working a year in the Emporda, we found a 9,5 hectare plot for sale. We found investors (through crowd funding) to be able to buy these vineyards. 2018 harvest we made wine from our own grapes: Garnacha, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Tannat and Barbera. The following years we will focus on restoring the vineyards, converting them to biodynamics and grafting to other (white) varieties. We live in a house that is surrounded by the vines. We installed solar panels and use water from the well so we are completely remote and independent. A veggie garden is in the making as we speak, according to permacultural methods.
HOW DID IT AL START?
Since we are together (could be about eight years now, we stopped counting), we always dreamed about having our own vineyard. As we are both from the city of Amsterdam, we decided first to make a career in whatever we were doing and then, with some money, buy a vineyard and become winemakers. Jurriaan studied Engineering, and after he built a travel agency for low impact private journeys to South East Asia. Dido was doing research in South Africa for her master in Cultural Anthropology on the Swartland Independent Producers, a group of young winemakers making delicious wines. There she realized that all those winemakers were following their dream right at that moment: by learning from different winemakers all over the world they eventually put their foot down in the Swartland and start making wine. That inspired us: why not follow our dream right now, while we are young and fit? And so we did. So far we did internships in South Africa, Chile,France and in three different regions in Spain: Penedès, Priorat/Montsant and Conca de Barberà. February 2018 we did an internship in the Barossa Valley in Australia with natural wine producer Tom Shobbrook.
All these internships were based on cellar work, where we learned how to make wine from grapes. From this we created our own philosophy. We want to make wine in its purest form, without additions of yeast, nutrients, tannins, and what else. We work without pumps, and only move the wine through gravity. We don't fine and filter; we want to make natural wine. Unfortunately the word 'natural' is a misused term, and a lot of producers claim they are 'natural', but the general consumer isn't aware of what can be added in the wine production process: it will scare you of what is allowed in wine. In order to work without all these products, you need a healthy vineyard. So, we decided we wanted to focus on vineyard work. Last year we worked for the company Espelt Viticultors, where we worked in the vineyard of Mas Mares, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
During our internships we also produced a number of different wines: these are known as the 'Ramses' serie. This name derived from two interests: our favorite Amsterdam singer Ramses Shaffy, combined with our interest in the Egyptian history. Our plan is to produce five different Ramses' spread over the world; comparable to the dynasty of the five farao Ramses of ancient Egypt: Ramses I, II, III, IV & V. Ramses I was made in Montsant, Spain and is sold out. Ramses II "El Niño" we made in Chile and is also sold out. Ramses III "Down Under" is resting in glass demijohns in the Barossa Valley. The final two are planned in North-America and South Africa. In Conca de Barberà we made an orange wine called Tot Controlat, and last year at Espelt we produced the Vinnaturo Cabernet Franc.
2014: Cellar hand at Domaine Maby, Tavel, France.
2015: Cellar hand at Dragonridge Winery, Swartland
2015: Cellar hand at Cellers de Can Suriol, Penedès
2015: Cellar hand at Clos Mogador, Priorat & Venus La Universal, Montsant Spain
2015: Production of first wine: Ramses I @ Venus La Universal
2016: Cellar hand at Francois Lurton, Chile, Colchagua Valley
2016: Cellar hand at Clos Santa Ana, Chile, Colchagua Vally
2016: Production of second wine: Ramses II, El Niño @ Clos Santa Ana
2016: Cellar hand at Escoda Sanahuja, Conca de Barberà, Spain
2016: Production of third wine. Our first white wine: Tot Controlat @ Escoda Sanahuja
2017: Farming 25 hectares of vineyard in Cap de Creus for Espelt Viticultors
2017: Production of our fourth wine: Vinnaturo Cabernet Franc, a low priced natural wine
2018: Cellar hand at Tom Shobbrook, Barossa Valley, Australia
2018: Production of Ramses III "Down Under" @ Tom Shobbrook
2018: Owners of 9,5 hectares of vineyards in Alt-Emporda