MEET Ruth & ANA De Andrés
Introduce us to the de Andrés Sisters:
The ‘de Andrés Sisters‘ is a winemaking business led by my sister Ana and I. We make wines in different areas of Spain, expressing in each of our projects the terroir and showing the incredible landscapes our wines come from. We don’t try to impose any rules in these terroirs, but to listen, to learn and to create wines that have a real impact .
What does sustainability mean to you?
For us, sustainability is more than a certification or an audit that you pay to an external company. It is an awareness and a deep conviction about how you are working. It is a way to communicate with the environment and a way to understand your presence in the world. Definitively, it is a way of life.
What steps are you taking to be more sustainable and mitigate the effects of climate change?
We avoid the use of chemicals in the vineyard. In the winery, no oenological products are used as a protocol. So fermentation is carried out by native yeasts and no fining agents are used for clarification.
Why did you make the choice to practice sustainable viticulture? Why have you chosen not to be certified organic?
For us, it was a question of conscious. It is not the easiest way to work, but as we work in nature every day it seemed right to do so in a way that would protect it. We are not certified because bureaucracy it is very complicated to our particular area. We work with very old Garnacha vines in remote areas in a mountainous region. Our vineyard parcels are tiny: most of them are less than 1 hectare. So getting all these certifications is very complicated, if not impossible. Fulfilling papers and implementing audit for so many remote plots in the middle of a mountain is not that easy!
What impact do you think climate change will have in your region over the next few decades?
We are worried because of the rise of temperatures and lack of rains. Our region is already warm and dry, particularly in summer. Because of that our grapes ripen easily and we have to struggle against over-ripening. Keeping good acidity and avoiding the metabolism of polyphenols is one of our main concerns. If the temperature gets higher and rains drop, that can be a major problem for us in order to harvest the grapes at the right point. Already we need to harvest sooner and sooner.
Who is the unsung hero in your workforce?
Probably, any of the old winegrowers. They are incredible people, most of them around 80 years old. They cultivate their vines and still prune the plants themselves. They feel so proud of their vines and they care of them as a garden.
Briefly describe your winemaking style.
We elaborate in a very natural way. Using native yeast, fermenting in concrete tanks and avoiding any fining agents. Once fermentation is finished, wine is racked to a naked concrete tank and matured for almost one year. During this time, wine is allowed to breathe and stabilize slowly due to micro-oxygenation. For us, this is the best way to finish the wines. In this way, they have plenty of time to achieve their right moment, without rush. We don’t push them to be ready in a certain date. We like them to take their time.
How would you pitch your wine to a customer in a restaurant?
We like to say that our Mountain Wine is a little bit rock & roll. So grab your taste buds and get dancing!
What do you think is the key trend in the world of wine?
I think organic is already a big trend and I hope it will last for a long time. Apart from this, in terms of style, less extractive wines. I think the habit of squeezing skins to get excessive wines will be out of fashion soon.