Castilla-La Mancha, Spain
At Bodegas Ponce S.L. Juan Antonio Ponce taps a network of old vineyards throughout the southwestern Manchuela region, specializing in fresh renditions of the rustic, notoriously difficult, Bobal grape variety.
Ponce didn’t choose a career in winemaking on a whim – life among the vines has been his lifelong endeavor. He enrolled at the Requena School of Viticulture and Oenology at just 14, and during his time there, conceived a plan to one day run his own winery. After finishing his studies, he landed a winemaking and vineyard management role at Compañía Telmo Rodríguez, where he got to craft wines in regions across Spain, compiling a wealth of practical viticultural knowledge.
In 2005, at just 23 years old, Juan Antonio brought that knowledge back home to Manchuela and realized his long-awaited dream to start a family winery. His father contributed some land he owned in the region, and the two began farming it together.
In their certified organic vineyards, Ponce and his father plant trees and vegetation native to the Mediterranean, encouraging healthy biodiversity for the vines. They farm traditionally, avoiding irrigation whenever possible, and as they’ve grown, they’ve constructed their buildings with energy-conscious materials and air conditioning.
Ponce shows a mastery of the native Bobal grape variety, but also uses varieties like Albilla, Moravia Agria, Monastrell, and Garnacha. They hand-pick everything earlier than most regional producers to give their wines, particularly Bobal, fresh acidity. After chilling the clusters to 8°C, they ferment their grapes whole cluster—a technique known as “remango,” which was once popular in Rioja.
Juan Antonio still works with his father in the vineyards, and his two children now assist with winemaking. He might have gained renown as a leader of Manchuela winemaking and a Bobal whisperer, but he hasn’t forsaken his mission to keep family at the center of his bodega.
- Producer: Bodegas y Vinedos Ponce
- Vendor: Bodegas y Vinedos Ponce S.L
- Varietals: Bobal, Albilla, Moravia Agria, Monastrell, Grenache
- Labor Practices: Bodegas Ponce is still a family affair, and Juan Antonio Ponce still relies on his father for advice in the vineyards and cellar. He likewise hopes his two children will eventually join the winery.
- Organic Practice Certificates: CAAE Certified
- Sustainable Practices: Todas nuestras instalaciones están construidas con materiales especialmente adecuados para ahorrar consumo energético y usar aparatos de climatización. Cada año plantamos cierto número de árboles para contrarrestar nuestra huella de carbono, al igual que plantamos plantas típicas de nuestra zona mediterránea para mantener un paisaje y una biodiversidad típica de nuestra región. El 100% de nuestro viñedo se sigue cultivando de la misma forma tradicional para evitar riegos innecesarios en su cultivo.
- Country: Spain
- Region: Castilla-La Mancha