The history of the Pago de los Capellanes winery started at a small vineyard in the Burgos town of Pedrosa de Duero, operated by Doroteo Rodero and her son Paco. That planted the seed for a passion that would come to fruition years later in 1996 when Paco Rodero and his wife Conchita Villa recovered this and several other vineyards in the area to supply grapes to the first wineries in the Ribera del Duero region. Everything started in that little vineyard, which in the 14th century had belonged to the village priests. In March, Paco Rodero and his company visited the island for the Tastavins wine tasting event, organised by Buscastell Vins. “I love Ibiza, we’ve been coming here since the 1980s when the Adlib fashion label started; in fact my daughter was conceived here,” he proudly recalls between laughs.
You don’t miss out on an opportunity to spend a few days on the island.
I don’t attend many wine presentations and tasting events, my daughter Estefanía and the commercial team take care of that side of the business. I just try to get away to Ibiza because I have such fond memories of coming here, of those fabulous 1980s.
You have been managing a winery since you were relatively young, since 1996, and it has become world famous. How did this big leap come about?
It’s not a leap so much as an evolution, because in the world of wine you can’t do strange things or invent stuff; you have to be serene and calm. We have known how to evolve. But you still need to keep your eyes wide open in order to evolve and always position yourself according to market and customer demands.
15 or 20 years ago there weren’t as many wineries as there are today; now it’s all about grape varieties, designation of origin, etc. Is this proliferation of wines and brands forcing you to change your business model?
No, we work very well alongside the other wineries, because it is an industry that requires us all to do well, otherwise it would devalue us as a sector. The important thing is to stick together and keep raising the standard. If the others are evolving, what do you do? Well you don’t look down but keep evolving, but not revolutionise. It’s evolution that positions you where you want to be and at the right moment.
Where would you place Spain on a world level?
We are at a very good level. For example, you have French wine, which is a world reference point. But you have to pay four times more to drink this quality of wine. I mean, we are making some very good quality wines here at affordable prices and in France you would pay four or five times more for this category of wine.
Why is this?
Because they have an advantage of 500 years over us. We don’t know how to sell our products. France and Italy have been doing it for longer than us and they know how to market their products. I’ve been to Italy many times and I’ve never seen any olive trees. Where are they? For the quantity of olive oil they produce, I just can’t see the olive groves. I go to Jaén and it’s bursting with olive trees. Well this is what happens, they buy it here, and then they package it beautifully with pretty labels, they sell it and it flies off the shelves.
The product is here and we are not capable of marketing it well. We were shut away for many years with the dictatorship, etc., and this was when the others went to the world market. The 40 years or more we were enclosed weighs heavily on us, because you can’t turn things around in one generation. We need to create a culture. We have come a long way but there’s still a long way to go.
You say you are a fan of Ibiza. Have you tried the local wine?
Of course, the Ibizan wine has surprised me a lot; I believe it has some very exclusive flavours. This afternoon, for example, I tasted three wines from a local winery that is also presenting at Tastavins and frankly I really liked them. You can tell they are prepared to work hard here, to do things well and surpass themselves.