Quality Department of Cuatro Rayas Winery

In our departments and areas tour of the structure of Cuatro Rayas winery, today we want to talk you about the functions performed by the Quality Department. Its mission is a key element within our viticulture project since they are accountable for the upgrading and implementation of the quality and food safety requirements under the food regulations BRC (British Retail Consortium) and IFS (International Food Standard).

The full compliance with the quality standards affects all departments, stages and personnel of Cuatro Rayas Winery. It starts at the vine plant, even before the harvesting of the wine grape, and finishes long after the winemaking and bottling of the wine; extending up to the dispatching and expedition of orders to the markets. During this long process –from the vineyard to the consumer–, this department carries out extensive checks in order to comply with all requirements regarding food safety. There are controls of the vine, also in the laboratory, and utmost monitoring of the winemaking and bottling processes, and also on the labelling and packaging stage. Even suppliers of the winery must go through a strict control in order to comply with the requirements of the regulations.

The Quality Department of Cuatro Rayas remarks the importance that all departments are involved in this area, as it is a way to strengthen their commitment to the company and consumers. After all, the rigour and transparency of all our processes contribute to strengthen their trust in our work. It should also be noticed that, to this respect, it is always important to work for the continuous improvement of the wine process; this is why the department insists on the update, renewal and implementation of many new changes that ensure maximum compliance with our quality objectives.

Concha Hernández

Concha Hernández and Ricardo Serrano work in this department. Both are quality technicians at this division of Cuatro Rayas Winery. Concha, the person who welcomed us today at her job, has been associated with the winery since 2017, and since then, has been working in this area. Born in Pozaldez, this engineer also has a Master’s Degree in Quality and Environment Integrated Systems. “We must work to adapt to the needs of our customers, to whom we owe the fulfilment of the highest requirement standards to cover their expectations in all areas”, she said.

Marketing and Communications Department of Cuatro Rayas Winery

The Marketing and Communications Department is responsible for managing the information and communication that Cuatro Rayas Winery generates, both internal (to the members and employees) and external, i.e., the information related to the media, sponsorships and brand image. The managers of this department are as well responsible for the development of advertising and communications campaigns and the constant presence of the winery at important trade fairs and promotional events. Thanks to their familiarity with the wine tasting language and their broad knowledge about the philosophy of the winery and all the winemaking processes, they are usually present in wine tastings, presentations and they provide direct assistance to the wine tourists, who visit the winery from around the world.

The Marketing and Communications team is also responsible for managing and creating content on social networks where Cuatro Rayas Winery is present. Certainly, we can say that this department is one of the most strategic within the winery because they are accountable for keeping the image of the company and also the smooth communication among the members of the entity, in this case, the members of the cooperative winery.

Álvaro Gago, María Estévez and Sonia García work at this department. Álvaro is the director of Communications, public relations of the winery and the person in charge for the contact with the specialised and general press. Born in Valladolid, he graduated in Journalism at the European University Miguel de Cervantes of Valladolid and joined this department of the company from La Seca in 2015; since then, he exercises his role as leading manager.

Born in Madrid, but living in Valladolid, María Estévez graduated in Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Valladolid (UVA). She is in charge of writing press releases, managing the sponsorships and Intranet and the Enotourism area. The latest addition to the department has been Sonia García. Born in Tordesillas (Valladolid), she graduated in Advertising and Public Relations, also at the UEMC. Her tasks are related to the design of labels and display advertising, web updates and Product Marketing.

Operations Department of Cuatro Rayas Winery

Operations Department is responsible for organising the entire production. In this department work, as main leaders, Luis Bernardo (Director of Operations); Jorge Labajo (Production Manager); Sara de Íscar (Purchasing manager) and the quality technicians Ricardo Serrano and Concha Hernández. This Operation Department includes other important sub-departments as:

Purchasing. It establishes all relations with suppliers. They are also responsible for all the supporting elements of the bottling, i.e., everything related to material purchasing for the winery, from corks to labels, cardboard boxes and even the bottles where we introduce the wine to be marketed. Sara de Íscar works at this department as the main leader. She joined the winery in 2004. Born in Serrada, this agricultural engineer has specific training in Purchase and Management of Wineries.

Production. This department is in charge of materialising the orders in the bottling plant. It is to be noted that, precisely, this bottling plant is one of the ‘gems’ of Cuatro Rayas Winery, as it has the biggest production capacity in Castile and Leon. For example, its maximum production reaches 10,000 bottles per hour, and has an actual output of 75,000 bottles per day, making an annual bottling total of 18 million units. We bottle more than 200 brands, on two shifts (morning and afternoon) and a third dedicated exclusively to cleaning tasks. The modern bottler is equipped with cleaning, filling up and corking stations. After passing through this process, the bottles arrive at the encapsulating, labelling, packing and palletising areas, and then placing the goods at the departure point, ready for distribution. In the bottling line work: the managers Fernando Vidal, Pedro A. Sobrino, Emilio Olteanu and Hector Asensio; in addition to the operators Francisco Fidalgo, José Mª Vidal, Rodrigo Rivera, Santiago Pocero, Sergio Sacristán and Agustín Rochas; and Fidel Muñoz, Óscar García y Víctor Capellán (cleaning tasks).

Logistics. This sub-department is responsible for organising and preparing all the orders to arrive correctly at their destination. In this case, we are talking about the Warehouse, with a maximum capacity of 1.2 million bottles. Five operators work here: Javier Rodilana (responsible for Reception); Javier Cantalapiedra (Distribution) and the operators Antonio Cantalapiedra, Braulio Romo and Sergio Rochas.

A vine plant from Cuatro Rayas in the Royal Zarzuela Gardens

It happened in mid-April 2010. The cooperative Cuatro Rayas Winery was currently immersed in the celebration of its 75 anniversary, a good reason to be granted a hearing with the then prince Felipe at the Zarzuela Palace. Certainly, it was a unique moment that the members and other guests of a delegation of the winery from La Seca will never forget, including the then president Fernando Prieto; the manager, Vicente Orihuela; line managers of every department, and the presidents of the winery over the past 30 years.

There are not only numerous photos of that visit to be remembered, but also Felipe’s words of thanking when he was awarded the Gold Badge of the winery. He was also very grateful to receive the second gift –which by the way, it quite unusual for such royal palace–, a Verdejo variety vine plant. Felipe himself said that the specimen would be immediately transplanted in the Zarzuela Gardens, joining thus other ornamental and forest species of great singularity. Surely, the gift was well appreciated, since it comes from the Pago de las Cuatro Rayas, one of the most emblematic plots of the cooperative, as it is the point where the four municipalities of La Seca, Medina del Campo, Rueda and Rodilana touch. Don Felipe not only showed great interest on its origin but also on where was the most appropriate place to plant it, taking into account all the needs for a vine of these characteristics – like the type of soil, sunlight and aeration.

Also, on that important day, we do not want to forget the delivery to His Royal Highness of a Magnum bottle of Cuatro Rayas by Dionisio Miguel Recio, already deceased and former president of Club Balonmano Valladolid, one of the major sports team sponsored by our winery. Again, Felipe expressed his gratitude for the gift and showed his interest, as part of a more relaxed conversation, in other aspects of the firm, such as the production, distribution, commercial network and presence, mainly, in the international markets.

Cuatro Rayas Cuarenta Vendimias Ribera del Duero

Cuarenta Vendimias expands its range with the addition of a Tempranillo red wine from Designation of Origin Ribera del Duero. Elena M. Oyagüe put her stamp on this wine; she was in charge of selecting the grapes coming from 40-year-old vineyards in the Ribera del Duero. It is worth remembering that this is not the first incursion of Cuatro Rayas Winery in Designation of Origin Ribera del Duero since we have already released our first red wine –introduced last year– becoming very successful in the market. Thanks to the release of a Ribera del Duero red wine, the cooperative form La Seca expands its range of quality wines.

The winemaker Elena M. Oyagüe, author of the 2015 vintage, is responsible for providing the tasting notes. Elena reminds us that this is the second project born in the heart of Ribera del Duero and, in this case, the wine has been produced in the area of Pedrosa de Duero (Burgos) from 100% Tempranillo variety grapes and a 10-month oak barrel ageing.

Cuarenta Vendimias Ribera del Duero 2015 wine meets all parameters established by this typology. Appearance: cherry red colour with purple highlights, bright, full-bodied and purple-like aspect. Very intense on the nose, coffee bean aromas predominate with hints of mocha over a background of ripe fruit –plumb, cherry and vanilla– very well integrated. On the palate, coffee bean flavours, ripe fruit and vanilla appear again. It is very persistent, fleshy and has a long and balanced finish.

Due to its structure, a variety of dishes pairs perfectly with this wine, including red meat and game, even a good dish of grilled vegetables, for example.

Citrus fruits and botanicals in Verdejo 61 Vermouth wine tasting

Today we bring you the wine tasting of ‘61 Vermouth’, one of the latest creations of Cuatro Rayas Winery, made with 100% Verdejo wine. Its creator, the winemaker Roberto L. Tello, who belongs to the technical team of the cooperative, will show it to us. Roberto makes it very clear that this is an aromatised drink, although it is made from two wines: a young fruity Verdejo wine and a barrel fermented Verdejo wine. “That is the base, but you must bear in mind that, to be denominated vermouth, we need a hydroalcoholic mixture of a distillation of aromatic plants”, he explains. We used more than 50 aromatic plants in the winemaking of this vermouth, and in many cases, this selection of botanicals are used to enhance the Verdejo variety, such as fennel, elderflower, thyme and rosemary, offering unmistakable aromas of lowbush.

When preparing this vermouth, we use ice and citrus fruits, like grapefruit or orange, providing it with freshness and enhancing some of the characteristics of the Verdejo variety. When we look at it, the vermouth shows us a mahogany colour with amber-like reflections at the rim. On the nose, we find all the typical aromas of our precious variety. It is remarkable how the aromas of rosemary, thyme, fennel and citrus fruits show up. On the palate, there is an interesting balance between sweet and bitter flavours, although the characteristic acidity of the white grape variety is always there. Nice and with a very long finish. Delicious, in fact.

The best quality of the vermouth –by the way, this one is called 61 after the first brand of the cooperative– is sharing it with friends, or with a tasty appetiser or any tapas, next to the counter. And remember: whenever you enter a shop, a bar or a restaurant, pay attention to the bluish tones of the label and the distinctive Jerezana bottle. ¡Don’t order any other brand and have it well chilled!

Cuatro Rayas and its commitment to recycling

Cuatro Rayas Winery has just joined the 2017-2019 Business Plan for Packaging Waste Prevention intended for the wine and spirits industry. This is an initiative from Ecovidrio, a non-profit organisation in charge of managing the recycling of all glass containers in Spain. Admittedly, recycling is everyone’s task and a simple gesture –like throwing away a bottle in a green bin– can help society if all of us make our contribution.

The philosophy of Ecovidrio and the extraordinary work they have been developing for two decades has encouraged us to sign this collaboration agreement that has a lot to do with the protection of the environment and sustainable development. The first line of action we have committed with is to adopt a series of measures to reduce the weight of the primary packaging; e.g., the usage of lighter bottles, in our case. Another established objective has to do with the weight of the tertiary packaging, pursuing to reduce the micronage of the stretch film (for palletisation) and shrink wrapping (to put together primary packaging); e.g., pallet wrapping film will be thinner, although it will improve its elastic properties.

Another of the commitments of Cuatro Rayas with Ecovidrio refers to the increase of the percentage of recycled material used in our winery, not only in the packaging but also in the cardboard packages. The latter concerns to the generic cardboard boxes we use at Cuatro Rayas Winery and, since we joined the plan, even the dividers of the interior which we are using are made of recycled material.

As you can see, Cuatro Rayas makes its contribution to recycling committing to sustainability. We believe, and we are sure that the project will become bigger soon with the help and responsibility of everyone.

Wine tasting of the wine with the longest tradition in Cuatro Rayas

‘61 Dorado’ is the oldest wine of Cuatro Rayas Winery. It is said to be the most genuine
and with the most tradition. It was born and bottled in our cellar more than half a
century ago. Undoubtedly, it best represents the purest tradition of wines produced and
consumed in the region of Rueda, long before the arrival of young, fresh and fruity
Verdejo variety wines that we know today.

Ángel Calleja –governing board member of Cuatro Rayas and, for more than four
decades, winemaker of the cooperative– knows very well the history of this wine. Ángel
tells us that 61 doesn’t refer to vintage, but actually, it has to do with the numbering of a
vat. Because, at the very beginning, winegrowers used to make their wine at home until
they established the cooperative. It was then when they took the wine from their houses
and poured all their contributions in a shared vat. Even though there were a few, number
61 was the best of all. Hence every wanted to buy its wine. So, that is the reason for the

‘61 Dorado’ is a dry, liqueur wine, as a result of the oxidative ageing. Its alcohol
content is no less than 15% and must remain in oak for, at least, the previous two years
immediately before its commercialisation. Given Cuatro Rayas Winery performs the
traditional method, this wine has to types of ageing: biological (developing a film of
yeasts in a Jerezana butt) and oxidative (in 640L casks that allow the contact of the
wine with the wood). We can’t talk about vintages with this wine, as we produce it
following the tiers and soleras system.

Ángel Calleja and the current Cuatro Rayas’ winemaker, Elena M. Oyagüe, help us to
understand this wine better through the language of wine tasting. Appearance stage: it is
bright, limpid and golden because of the oxidative ageing. It has characteristic aromas
of biological ageing: hints of dough and yeasts, and oxidative ageing: almonds and nuts.
Balsamic, complex with bitter hints and a long finish. Regarding the pairing and
consumption, Elena recommends pairing it with a wide variety of cheeses, while Ángel
opts for game meats and artichoke stews.

Cuatro Rayas makes a toast to equality

The toast that today make us raise a glass deserves our full attention. While raising the glass, a group of Cuatro Rayas’ men and women staff state their clear support for a social cause. On the occasion of the International Women’s Day (8 March), everyone wanted to emphasise upon a fair claim: the one about equality! Nevertheless, this claim needs the awareness and collaboration of everyone. Because Women’s Day is not just synonymous with labour rights and opportunities for everyone but also brings on the table other challenges the society must address, such as conciliation, fight against stereotypes and gender-based violence. Achieving these goals will result in a fairer, freer and more egalitarian society.

The employment of women in Cuatro Rayas Winery reaches all areas and levels, in fact, 30% of the staff are female workers. Within our ten departments, some women are in leadership positions and other women share responsibilities with other members of the working team. Today we want to show you some examples. The first one was Elena M. Oyagüe, who has been working 20 years in Oenology and today is the manager of this department, after receiving the baton from the recently retired Ángel Calleja. She is in charge of the department where Roberto López also works; he is from the town of Almazán in Soria, holds a degree in Chemistry and Oenology, and has been working in the winery for ten years.

Photo caption. From left to right Roberto López (Winemaker); María Estévez (Communications and Wine Tourism); Raquel Fernández (Export Area Manager); Rebeca Altable (Vineyard Department); Vicente Orihuela (Managing Director); Susana Diez (Governing Council Spokeswoman); Juncal González (Lab Manager); and Quique González (Vineyard Technician).

Juncal González is at the head of the Laboratory Department. Born in La Seca, she has been associated with the winery for twelve years, and she came here after finishing her studies as Environmental Health Technician. Raquel Fernández is one of the three saleswomen working in the Export Area. She is from Burgos, graduated in Economics, and holds a Master’s Degree in International Trade. In the image under this post, next to her there is Rebeca Altable, member of the Vineyard Department team. She graduated in Agricultural Engineering, also holds a Master’s Degree in Winery Direction and Management. She works closely with Mercedes and two men, Quique González and José Martínez, and the latter is the manager of the team. María Estévez is one of the three members of the Communication and Wine Tourism area, together with Álvaro and Sonia. She was born in Madrid, but lives in Valladolid; she graduated in Advertising, holds a Master’s Degree in Winery Direction and Management from Business School of Valladolid.

The last ones of the picture are Susana Diez, the only Governing Council spokeswoman, who represents all 300 members of the cooperative – it is worth mentioning that a third of this membership base are women– and Vicente Orihuela, Managing Director of the Winery. Orihuela explains how the firm Cuatro Rayas works since, in recent years, they have implemented a strategic plan aimed at improving the quality of life of the workers. Hence, among their objectives, they are planning the implementation of an Equality Plan in the short term. This new project will include a series of measures that will put special effort in working towards gender equality and its relationship with common issues including schedules, personal and labour relationships, access to employment and labour conciliation.

Sugarcane “seals” Cuatro Rayas’ wine range

We have already talked about the closure of the bottle, about the process that surrounds
it, and, especially, about the materials used. Along with cork, synthetic and natural
stoppers, now a new addition closures the range of Cuatro Rayas’ wines. We are talking
about a cork made from polymers derived from sugar cane.

The new kind of cork provides a high-quality closure, although its main advantage has
to do with the control of oxygen ingress in the bottle. In addition to the oxygen control,
another particular feature is that it is the world’s first virtually zero carbon footprint
closure for fine wines.

Another of the advantages is that this kind of closure doesn’t provide flaws to the wine.
Furthermore, it has an excellent mechanical action in the closure, in other words, it
corks perfectly and keeps good closure conditions, at the very least, for five years. It is
certainly a great innovation in the wine sector that, in this case, benefits from a
vegetable raw material such wonderful as the sugar cane. Environment-friendly,
sustainable, easy-to- uncork and provides all guarantees for wine preservation. These are
the new stoppers that seal the wines of Cuatro Rayas Winery. Could we ask for more?