'We traveled from vineyard to vineyard and made wine all over the world. Now we own nine hectares of vineyards in Empordà, 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-Empordà in Spain, where we found 9,5 hectares of planted vineyards in the natural reserve of Albera. The coming years we will farm these vineyards at least organically, implementing biodynamic principles as well. From these grapes we make natural wine without added sulphites.
After working a year in the same region, we encountered an 11-hectare plot for sale with planted vineyards of Garnacha, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Tannat and Barbera. Through crowdfunding we were able to buy all of it. The year 2018 was our first vintage ever making wine from our own grapes. The following years we will focus on restoring the vineyards, converting them to biodynamics and grafting to other (white) varieties. We live in midst of our vines, installed solar panels and use water from the well so we are completely independent. A veggie garden is in the making as we speak, according to permacultural methods.
HOW DID IT ALl START?
Since we are together (about eight years now, we stopped counting), we always dreamed about having vineyards. As we are both from 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 natural 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 settled down in the Swartland to produce their own 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, Australia, France and in three different regions in Spain: Penedès, Priorat/Montsant and Conca de Barberà.
We worked for big industrial companies as well as for small boutique wineries. Our internship at Joan Ramon Escoda changed our approach and introduced us to the world of natural wine: wine made without any additions and without filtration or fining. Just transforming grapes in their purest form into wine: to not add anything or take anything away. This sounds logical, but we experienced first hand what can be added into wine - ranging from different types of yeasts to arabic gum - more than 88 additives are allowed in (also in AOC) wine. To be able not to work with these products, the grapes need to be of very good (at least organic) quality. This leads to a intensified focus in the vineyard, working as natural as possible, obtaining the most delicious grapes.