The imminent 2015 harvest is full of new features for La Rioja Alta, S.A. The winery has invested 9 million euros to continue reinforcing its commitment to continuous improvement in the quality of its wines, grapes and vinification processes, which are vertically integrated.
A significant part of this investment has been allocated to the acquisition of 62 hectares of new vineyards located in three terroirs in the municipality of Cenicero, La Rioja. These new vineyards are planted with Tempranillo vines with an average age of 23 years. This increases the surface area in production to 425 hectares, ensuring the self-sufficiency of first-quality grapes which we enjoy since the 2007 harvest.
In addition, La Rioja Alta S.A. will be using new facilities this harvest. There are two new grape entry lines which cool down the grapes before destemming. They are then passed through state-of-the-art optical sorting tables which analyse each berry, discarding those which do not comply with the winery's demanding quality parameters. Only the best grapes will go to the new crushers and, subsequently, to the fermentation tanks.
To support these investments, an R&D Department has been created to control and foster the development of new projects aimed at improving the quality of La Rioja Alta, S.A. wines. To this purpose, new facilities have been built next to the current Quality and Winemaking Laboratories. This will allow for new instrumental methods and testing techniques, such as gas chromatography —an analytical innovation for the winery. A sophisticated chromatograph is to be employed to control production of undesirable compounds that significantly affect the quality of the wines during all stages of winemaking —grapes, bulk grape must, wine in barrels and bottled wine.