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People like Raphael returned to Spain bringing new ideas and French winemakers.Recognising the region’s similarities with Bordeaux, he settled in Haro in 1877, close to the train station, invested all his money in five vats and began making table wine, selling it fast and cheaply.Here, the hand-excavated wine gallery dates from 1890 and extends all the way back to the river – workers were given 4L of wine a day, two of which they could drink in the winery.In its darker corners the cave is coated with penicillium, a white furry mould, which helps keep the temperature constant by absorbing humidity.Sadly, the roof proved to be less waterproof than desired, which has disrupted Ysios’ work and kept its lawyers busy.Ruiz de Vinaspre is a smaller operation, with all the grapes (100% Tempranillo) coming from the winery’s own vineyards.
The winery itself is next to the museum and underground.
Founder Rafael Lopez-Heredia was a Basque who lived in Chile but returned to fight for the Spanish king, lost, and was exiled to France.
There he started to work for a Bayonne wine merchant.
Here he absorbed tips and techniques from French winemakers, who would, for example, de-stem grapes.
The disaster of phylloxera, a vine disease that destroyed the French industry, was a blessing for Rioja.