Codorniu, the Spanish company best known for its cava, the sparkling wine made in the traditional method, has just completed the construction of several new wineries, signaling its intent to move outside its traditional Catalonia homeland and into the wider Spanish wine sector.
The new wineries in the Ribera del Duero and in the Valle del Cinca will produce wine under the respective brand names of Legaris and Nuviana, and Codorniu is clearly expecting big things from its new brands. The company said it hopes that wine will eventually account for 40 per cent of its sales - compared to the current 25 per cent - allowing it to reduce its dependence on cava.
Codorniu already has wineries in Catalonia, Tarragona and Rioja, as well as in Argentina and California.
The Legaris winery in the Ribera del Duero Denomination of Origin cost the company some €9.5 million, and has a capacity to produce around 100,000 12-bottle cases each year. The wine will be made from the 94 hectares of vineyards surrounding the new plant, most of which are planted with Tempranillo grapes.
The first wines - a 2000 crianza and a 1999 reserva - will be put on the market next March. Codorniu is predicting sales of around 17,000 cases in the first year, rising to 24,000 in 2004/05.
The Nuviana winery in the Valle del Cinca will not produce aged wines, but will concentrate instead on table wine. The €6.9 million winery has just launched its first wines, and Codorniu is predicting sales of 80,000 cases this year.