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Alejandro Fernandez, Founder of Tinto Pesquera, Dies at 88

Posted on May 25, 2021
  • Alejandro Fernández, the pioneering winemaker and initiator of Ribera del Duero, passed away this weekend at the age of 88 in Santander.
  • Alejandro Fernández is considered a revolutionary and visionary in the wine world, an eminence in the winemaking industry with a trajectory of more than 40 years which was recognised in 2014 with the Gold Medal of Merit in Labour for his work on the Ribera del Duero Designation of Origin.

Madrid, May 2021.-Alejandro Fernández, founder of the iconic group from Pesquera de Duero, Familia Fernández Rivera, passed away this weekend at the age of 88 in the city of Santander. His passing leaves a void that is difficult to fill in the group of viticulturists of the community of Castile and León, he had unique winemaking know-how that is within the grasp of very few.

The story of Mr Alejandro Fernández, an icon and the driving force behind Ribera del Duero, begins in 1972, when he purchased a 16th century stone wine press with his wife, Esperanza Rivera, where they began to produce their first wines. In 1975, Familia Fernández Rivera reaped its first harvest. The wine that was sold was called Tinto Pesquera, a tribute to the affection that Alejandro and Esperanza had for their home town, Pesquera de Duero.

Thanks to the production of the family´s wines, talk began about the potential of Ribera del Duero, and in 1982 the Designation of Origin was created That same year, Familia Fernández Rivera produced the first Janus Pesquera, made with excellent vintages using grapes from Viña Alta, the highest vineyard of Tinto Pesquera. The wines of Bodega Pesquera became one of the most renowned and most valued in 1985, when the American wine guru Robert Parker, elevated Tinto Pesquera, specifically Janus, to the ranks of the best wines in the world, considering it the Petrus of Spain.

Alongside his wife and daughters, Alejandro continued to contribute to his winemaking legacy by founding wineries in different areas: Condado de Haza, also in Ribera del Duero; Dehesa La Granja in Zamora; and El Vínculo, the latter in the La Mancha area of Ciudad Real. In 2011, the group diversified and opened the Hotel AF Pesquera, located in Peñafiel.

In 2014, Mr Alejandro Fernández was awarded one of the Gold Medals of Merit in Labour for this work on the Ribera del Duero Designation of Origin, one of the last honours presented by the King Emeritus Juan Carlos I.

The Regulatory Council of the Ribera del Duero Designation of Origin highlighted his role as the driving force behind the quality brand and the fact that Fernández was the architect of the expansion of the designation of origin throughout the world. “His way of interpreting and loving Ribera del Duero was passed down to the next generations, he contributed to the growth and prestige of our DO. Admired by the critics and deeply respected by his peers, he leaves a huge impact”, said its president, Enrique Pascual, in a statement.

Familia Fernández Rivera is set up as a company in which each business unit takes on its own personality and prominence. The Tinto Pesquera, Condado de Haza, Dehesa de la Granja and El Vínculo wineries, as well as the Hotel AF Pesquera, are the pillars of this group, which aspires to continue setting the gold standard in the Spanish and international wine industries with a presence in more than 70 countries.

Region: Spain
Job Function: President/Owner/GM

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