- Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Juan Jesus is a proud native of Tenerife and the fourth generation of growers. During the twenty-five years that he's overseen Bodegas Viñátigo, he has considerably increased its holdings, planting varieties that he and his team recuperated. During these years he has also juggled the classes he teaches as a professor of viticulture and enology at the Ciclo Superior de Vitivinicultura. His wife Elena Batista works alongside him helping with general aspects of production, from tracking what’s happening in the vineyards - ensuring that harvest takes place at the right time in terms of maturity - as well as working in the cellar, where plots are vinified separately. They do this work collaboratively, constantly exchanging ideas and viewpoints.
Juan Jesus and Elena work closely with Sr. Fernando Zamora at Rovira i Virgili university in Tarragona to study, catalog, preserve, and vinify imperiled indigenous grape varieties. It has proven to be productive work; thus far they have identified eighty-two different varieties, notably including Baboso Negro and Vijariego Negro. They recovered those varieties on the island of El Pinar and have since propagated them on Tenerife. Juan Jesus and Elena's mission to promote these near-extinct varieties explains why many of their bottlings are monovarietal and featured prominently on their labels. Many bottlings are extremely limited in their production and hand-numbered.
Viticulture at Viñátigo is sustainability-focused. The grapes are hand-harvested and fermented using indigenous yeasts. Grapes go through two triages, first in the fields and then again in the winery. Minimal sulfur is used in the winery and no synthetic materials are used in the winemaking.
Juan Jesus renovated the winery using architecture that evokes the volcanic terroir of Tenerife.