Our cooperative’s history is replete with moments in which it has demonstrated an enormous resiliency in difficult times; perhaps this fighting spirit is inborn, given the cooperative’s origins.
The cooperative’s history is well-known – Cuatro Rayas Winery began as the Cooperative Winery of La Seca in 1935 in Spain, a country facing the uncertainty of political instability which would break out in Civil War within a year. Inspired by Fermin Bedoya, a local physician, winemaking families with vineyards in the small Valladolid locality of La Seca joined together to form a cooperative to make the most of their toils in the vineyards. The concept was simple – together, they would not only be larger, but much stronger.
Within a mere three years and deep in the throes of the nation’s conflict, our members’ parents and grandparents took a calculated risk – they collected the wine produced in their individual lands in large concrete vats to sell as one. Legend has it that the best mix of this foundational vintage was Vat 61, which lent its name to their first branded wine, “Fino 61”, known today as “61 Dorado”. The “61” family of brands has grown in recent years and now encompasses not only fortified wines (Dorado and Dorado en Rama), but also sparkling wine and two Vermouths elaborated from Verdejo and Tempranillo grapes.
Back then, wine was sold in bulk by casks – the first bottling would not occur until the 1950s – both directly and in distribution. Wine would be collected from house to house in large glass pitchers and huge wooden barrels filled with the cooperative’s wines would be shipped by train to bring La Seca’s fortified wines to many other regions.
While we have always known of our wines’ widespread success throughout northern Spain during this trying time, we still come across stories that reveal more about our winery’s history.
Recently, one of our neighbors, an avid stamp collector, found a very special envelope at a philatelic show. The post office stamp brings us to 1943 – a pivotal year in World War II – and the envelope is addressed to a post office box in Geneva, Switzerland. It bears the cooperative’s emblem and that of its “61 Amontillado Fino” brand.
We are not certain if the package ever arrived at its destination, since the envelope also bears stamps and markings revealing that it was intercepted by Nazi authorities, but it reminds us of the courage and enterprise of our members, even in times of great economic and political upheaval.
This is one more notable episode to inspire and sustain our working spirit and strength in difficult times in continuing to supply our customers with the very best of our products.More reason to confidently proclaim that #todoirabien.