Bodegas Beronia in Rioja is a spectacular model of sustainability and a beacon for the wine business of the future. Its holistic approach to design, energy production and conservation, production and winemaking philosophy and consumer focus has earned the winery numerous awards and certificates since its opening in 2022.
Among these awards is a 2023 Best Of Wine Tourism award for Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices from the Great Wine Capitals Global Network.
Sustainability from the ground up
Beronia was the first winery to earn a Gold Certification from LEED (Leader in Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Design) V4 in the category BD+C:NC (Building Design and Construction: New Construction). According to the U.S Green Building Council, the body that issues the certificate, “LEED for Building Design and Construction (LEED BD+C) provides a framework for building a holistic green building, giving you the chance to nail down every sustainability feature, maximizing the benefits.”
All the materials used in the new building are certified as sustainable and with minimal environmental impact.
Beronia also holds a certificate from Wineries for Climate Protection (WfCP), developed by the Spanish Wine Federation. The Federation states, “it is the first and only certification of environmental sustainability for the wine sector and aims to become the international benchmark in winemaking and the environment, seeking out solutions and best practices for wineries”.
Blending seamlessly with its surroundings
The winery building is nestled in the contour of a hillside with a graceful, southeast-facing concave glass façade,“shaped like a boomerang” in the words of Matías Calleja, Beronia’s managing director and winemaker.
The roof is planted to native grasses with receptacles to catch and recycle rainwater, while the ground around the visitors’ reception area is covered with aromatic herbs.
Four sources of energy power all the needs of the winery
The building looks out on a sea of vineyards with the Sierra de la Demanda mountain range in the distance. It is a beautiful setting for visitors. Functionally, this orientation allows for the maximum capture of sunlight (both by means of photovoltaic and thermosolar collection) and wind, three of the four energy sources used to power the winery.
The fourth source of energy is geothermal. Water flows in a circuit from 85 meters underground to the winery where heat exchangers warm or cool it as required.
The energy produced by these power sources is distributed independently to each functional area of the winery (social/administration, fermentation, ageing and bottling) at the lowest cost at any given time.
Another energy-efficient practice at Beronia is the use of gravity to move grapes and wine through the winery during the winemaking process.
Beronia explains that the project was technologically complex. Architects, industrial and civil engineers, hydrogeologists, landscape experts, ecologists, experts in environmental quality and of course winemakers were all involved in designing the winery and its surroundings.
Focused consumer activities
Beronia’s commitment to sustainability has a strong consumer focus and its wine tourism activities center on the technological processes that a circular economy encourages. Matías Calleja says, “Consumers are increasingly aware and focused on wine that is made sustainably. And because we believe in the same values when we make the wine, we try to do our part to contribute to a more sustainable world.”
Raquel Rupérez, Beronia’s director of wine tourism and public relations, sums up the winery’s consumer focus in seven words: “Wine, architecture, art, sustainability, innovation, digitalization and landscaping in a unique setting”.
Beronia is conscious that wine tourists who travel to Rioja usually visit more than one winery, so in addition to tastings and a tour of the winery, it focuses on activities that most other wineries do not offer, such as electric bike rides, picnics in the vineyard, and activities for children under the guidance of a specialist monitor.
A traditional Basque eating club inside a technologically advanced winery
One of the activities that sets Beronia apart is maintaining the founding spirit of the winery. A group of Basque friends founded Beronia in the early 1970s as a place to enjoy the Riojan countryside, take pleasure in companionship with their families and friends and of course, prepare meals, eat and drink. The Basques call this meeting and eating place a ‘txoko’.
Beronia’s motto is, “Born among friends to be enjoyed by friends” and the current owners of the winery, González Byass, have recreated this convivial space with a txoko in the new winery.
Here, friends can enjoy a meal, learn to prepare typical northern Spanish dishes or avant-garde creations and even prepare their own dishes to eat, at the same time, enjoying the countryside, the companionship of their friends and families, and of course, the spectacular winery in the heart of Rioja.
Bodegas Beronia, S.A.
Ctra. Ollauri-Nájera Km. 1,8
26220 Ollauri, La Rioja
T: +34 941 338 000
E: Raquel Rupérez
Text by Tom Perry, Inside Rioja
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