The Wine Edition Wines from Spain closes with a  globe-spanning programme exploring the place of  Spanish wine in a  world market, and sharing a master class in Georgian wine culture and traditions

The Wine Edition Wines from Spain closes with a globe-spanning programme exploring the place of Spanish wine in a  world market, and sharing a master class in Georgian wine culture and traditions


    • Master of Wine Pedro Ballesteros shared his economic law of wine as he chaired a panel of Spanish producers of fine wines


    • The question of confidence in Spanish wine as a prestige label overseas was at the centre of a roundtable discussion about the creation of excellence and value


    • In the Tasting room, the president of the Georgian Wine Association shared a comprehensive overview of the wine culture and traditions from the birthplace of wine

    • A versatile programme also saw chef Miguel Caño (Nublo*) outline his approach to pairing wine with food from la Rioja while The Spanish Wine Academy recognised young talent from the world of wine with the Juli Soler award


Madrid, Wednesday 31 January 2024. On the third and final day of The Wine Edition Wines from Spain 2024, winemakers, chefs, market experts and sommeliers came together to learn from the rich global world of wine.

This fourth edition of The Wine Edition Wines from Spain, hosted by Madrid Fusión, the most important gastronomic congress in the world, now in its 22ndyear, has offered the most international programme yet, as speakers from seven countries have converged in Madrid for more than 30 sessions.

On this third and final day, a central theme of the conversations in the main auditorium of The Wine Edition was one of communicating quality, showing faith in the product for wine brands to prosper in overseas market.

One of the lessons of the first session of the day 50+50+50 with Pedro Ballesteros MWwas that taking a longer term view and a bold approach could be key to achieving international recognition.

Ballesteros, one of the earliest Masters of Wine in Spain, believes that there is a certain formula for a fine wine producer to achieve recognition in overseas markets: 50+50+50. He suggests the 50-50-50 Club should consist of the 50 brands selling more than 50,000 bottles worldwide at more than €50 a bottle.

In this roundtable session, he was joined by Pablo Alvarez from Vega Sicilia; Guillermo de Aranzabal from La Rioja Alta; and Jose Ramon Urtasun from Ramirez de Ganuza. The trio had furthermore brought a selection of their fine wines for a very special tasting.

For a long time, the 50+50+50 club was club of one – Vega Sicilia from Ribera del Duero – But more recently two more brands have been added to the club: Remirez de Ganuza and Rioja Alta.

Founded in 1864, Vega Sicilia was taken over by Pablo Álvarez and family in 1982.

He explained how he has grown the brand as a prestige wine abroad while setting the scene. “When we took over there was not much wine in Ribera del Duero, in 1982 there was only 14 vineyards and now there are over 300,” he said.

There is no secret to promoting the brand successfully in overseas markets, he said – you need to travel. “People need to get to know you and what you produce; I travel abroad 120 days a year and our prestige status is something we have achieved over many years,” he explained.

If this club of 50+50+50 is to continue growing, who is next? Ballesteros asked if there could be space for younger wines – current members of the club all produce older wines that need longer storage. Aranzabal emphasised that it is a question of sticking to the longer term plan. “It is a question of mentality; I would add 50 years to the [50+50+50] equation – or a certain number of years. To reach this level you need to have a long term vision, it takes time.”

While Spain has a very established and world famous wine regions there are many more and much less well known regions. Would it be feasible for a smaller less known region to enter the select group of 50+50+50 members? Yes, said Urtasun, but the great wine regions are great for a reason – there are favourable conditions, such as climate.

“A winery in a region with less tradition might find it harder. Of course it is possible but it might be harder,” he said.

The following session, Creating value in the world of wine, was similarly linked to the role of Spain’s wines in a global market, as  Italian wine expert Juancho Asenjochaired a panel of experts in luxury wines and beyond, who discussed how to create value in wine through strategy and marketing. Among the panellists  Xandra Falcó, President Círculo Fortuny, highlighted that Spain has a lot to be proud of when travelling to overseas markets. There is a certain amount of catching up to do compared to other European wine countries, such as Italy and France.

“There is lack of confidence and Spain is not marketing itself like our neighbours, but we don’t have anything to be envious of from those countries and their wineries,” she said. “It is starting to change, younger people have more pride and confidence.”

Meanwhile in the tasting area, a session on the wines of Georgia left no seat empty when Shalva Khetsuriani, president of Georgia wine association was joined by sommeliers Tamazi Tamazashviliand Tengizi Davituliani,both of The Georgian Sommelier Association.

As a small country of just four million inhabitants, it is attracting a lot of attention for its long and proud wine history. In the session Georgia. Wine Rules, Khetsuriani explained that an archaeological exploration from 2021 had found his country to be the most likely birthplace of wine 8,000 years ago. Georgia is furthermore home to 525 endemic grape varieties and is the proud origin of the ceramic vessel still used to produce wine. In Georgia, said Khetsuriani, maturing in oak is still unusual.

“We are such a small country and the competition in the world is huge – thankfully we have so much good wine. For us to keep our identity is a question of survival,” he said.

Khetsuriani, himself a winemaker since 1998, outlined the main wine producing regions of Georgia and spoke of the many cultural and gastronomical traditions, such as the custom of serving just one wine through a whole meal or the approach to toasting – no one drinks their wine without saying a few words, he said.

“We serve many small dishes together in a feast and our wines can be drunk with everything, from meat and fish to soup and salad. Our wines are heavier and more complex than classical wines so you can pair them with everything.”

A tasting that featured five different wines and grape varieties, including Krakhuna, Khetsuriani and Saperavi Qvevri, to showcase the full range of wines that the small country produces and was paired with a selection of dishes served in Nunuka, a Georgian restaurant in Madrid, and Barbarestan, a famous Tbilisi restaurant.

Also in The Wine Edition auditorium today, Miguel Caño, the chef from Nublo* in La Rioja delivered a session focused on pairing wine with food from La Rioja, following  a presentation of the recipients of the Juli Soler Awardfor young sommeliers, presented in collaboration with The Spanish Wine Academy and Ramón Bilbao, which saw young talent within the world of wine presenting a wine each during a tasting session.

To close this fourth year of The Wine Edition Wines from Spain in style and with energy, the people behind a selection of bars with an accessible of food and drink came together for a closing party of music delivered by rappers A State of Mind who offered their interpretation of songs based on the wines in the tasting.

For more information about Madrid Fusión Alimentos de España and Madrid Fusión The Wine Edition Wines from Spain, visit


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