Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

More points!

May 25th, 2017

Add a comment

OK, I confess that I was so excited that I missed this…. Our A2O also received 91 points from the American Wine & Spirits Magazine. I missed it because they (confusingly in my opinion) refer to both of our wines as Castro Martin. True, they are both made by Bodegas Castro Martin, but in the winery we refer to them by their individual brand names. Actually, the truth is that we refer to them as A2O and BCM.

So here are their notes: A2O Sobre Lías Albariño (Best Buy) The fruit of vines between 20 and 50 years old, this spends six months on the lees to enhance the creaminess and depth of its aromas. The texture is shaped by taut acidity, full of mineral flavors and notes of citrus that leave a fresh sensation of lime and white stones.

Posted in Business, Press, Tasting

Don’t get me wrong, it’s always a good feeling to receive a positive review, or perhaps a medal for one of our wines, but to be honest I still find myself in two minds as to their real value. On the one hand it’s great to have the endorsement of a third party taster, whereas on the other hand my own philosophy has always been to simply pull the cork and decide for yourself if you like the wine or not. Of course the reason behind my thinking is that the appreciation of wine is completely subjective – personal taste. For example, I know some wines that I think are fantastic, whereas other people that I know just don’t like them at all. I have always said that it would be very boring if we all liked the same things, no matter what the product, and that’s why the world of wine is so interesting and open to everyone. Having said all that, I do appreciate that in some markets the points do still count!

When it comes to Castro Martin wines, then it goes without saying that I am more than just a little bit biased, after all, I do help to make them. However, on the occasions that we do receive a good score (or perhaps a bit of silverware) it simply serves to reinforce our own belief that we are doing a good job. After all, it’s no good making wines that only Angela and myself appreciate. 

So the news is that this week we were awarded 92 points (and wines of the month Best Buy) by the Wine and Spirits magazine in the U.S. They said of our Castro Martin Family Estate ‘Sobre Lias’ – “From 50-year-old vines in Salnés, this wine aged for six months on its lees, developing an unusual combination of juicy pineapple flavor and stoniness. It’s nervous in acidity, tightening around the leesiness to create an intense, savage albariño. Far from the simple and creamy whites that populate Rías Baixas, this explores new territories, its full-on fruit flavors and mineral notes giving a deep and immersive complexity. You can drink it now with fried scallops, or cellar it for two to three years.”

Say no more!

Posted in Business, Press

A to ZWell, you learn something new every day as they say, but only recently did I discover that Castro Martin actually has something in common with one of the largest companies on the planet!

One of our most Frequently Asked Questions is about the logo/name of one of our brands – A2O, and to be honest I feel just a little embarrassed when I have to explain it’s origin…. but not any more. It seems that the logic behind it (if you can call it logic) is shared with one of my most frequently used websites, Amazon. Please allow me to explain.

The name A2O quite simply comes from the word AlbariñO, which starts with the letter A and ends with the letter O, in other words from A to O (and we have simply substituted the word ‘to’ with the number two, and given it an accent to add a bit of a Spanish flavour). So that’s the story – clear as mud, I’m sure you’ll agree!

OK, so what about Amazon you ask, and where’s the similarity? Well, did you ever notice the arrow in their logo that underscores the name? Do you know why it’s there? I didn’t. If you look at the placement of the arrow it actually points from the A to the Z, and yes, you may have guessed already – the implication is quite simply that AmaZon stocks everything from A to Z (or should that be A2Z?!)

I have to admit that knowing this makes me feel a whole lot better, and it goes without saying that the next time someone asks about A2O, I will also make a point of explaining our very tenuous link with Amazon.

A time for giving

November 29th, 2016

Add a comment

Gift packsNo sooner have we got our International shipping orders loaded and on the road, than we start with the slightly more modest (but equally as important), gift orders for the holiday season. As you might expect much of our ‘gift’ business is in the local Galician market, as local businesses send tokens of their appreciation to customers at the end of the year.

To be very honest making three bottle gift packs (see today’s photo) can be a bit fiddly and time consuming. Over the years we have tried many different types of ‘estuches’ (as they are known in Spanish), but not based purely on how good they look or how much they cost. We also have to take into consideration how complicated, and therefore, how much time it will take to assemble each empty case. Quite frankly some of them can be like a work of origami, and subsequently have to be avoided. We always have to take into account the simple equation: Time=Money!

Posted in Bodega, Business, Fiestas

Christmas rushNow that both the harvest and wine making are pretty much behind us, the next significant event is almost upon us – the Christmas holiday season (am I still allowed to call it Christmas?). Anyway, whichever name you decide to use, the holiday season (including Thanksgiving), is always a busy time for us.

For the last week or two we have been busy preparing orders for shipment – many to Europe, but others for more distant shores. Part of our pre-harvest preparation is to fill the cellar with ‘floor stock’, labelled and ready to go, but much of this has already been sold, and so for the next few weeks our mission will be bottling more tanks of 2015 wine to replenish our depleted warehouse. (We bottle our wine throughout the year, as required, to keep the wine as fresh as possible – it keeps better in tank).

Posted in Bodega, Business, Fiestas

A life at sea

August 1st, 2016

Add a comment

The WorldCastro Martin already proudly sells wine to cruise ships, including the famous Cunard ‘Queens’, and the new P&O flagship Britannia. In addition to this our wines are now sailing on board a completely unique type of ‘cruise’ ship – The World – a Residence at Sea.

To explain this format in simple terms ‘The World’, at 644ft, is the largest private residential ship on the planet, providing floating luxury accommodation for those who can afford it (and want it). Guests, or should I say residents, of this huge floating home simply spend their whole time sailing around the world, again, and again, and again! The accommodation for each resident is not so much a cabin, but is actually a self contained apartment , with pretty much all the amenities of home – except perhaps the underground parking.

As you might imagine, the ship is loaded from top to bottom with different forms of entertainment – fitness, yoga, swimming, diving, kayaks, golf (the water hazards are quite impressive), and even a full-sized tennis court. Apart from numerous bars and restaurants it also caters for a wide multitude of hobbies (including wine tasting), boasts a cinema and theatre, and also has it’s own library. I am sure that this lifestyle will appeal to some, if not many, enjoying a different view from your window every day, but I’m afraid to admit that it certainly wouldn’t work for me.

On the plus side they do stock a great albariño!

Posted in Business, Travel

Farsons wine shopNot only do our wines appear on various cruise ships around the Mediterranean, but now they are also available on dry land, in the middle of the Med on the island of Malta. Historically one of Europe’s most strategic islands, located between Sicily and the North African coast. Over the centuries it has fallen under the rule of many a different regime and/or country including the Romans, Phoenecians. Moors, Spanish, French and the British, before finally achieving independence in 1964.

Our new customer – the Farsons Group, is not only a wine import company, but also owns a large brewery, manages some very well-known food franchises, and is an important food importer and distributor on the island. We are naturally quite delighted that such an important business has decided to represent our wines.

Of course , with it’s warm Mediterranean climate Malta is the perfect place to enjoy a chilled glass of albariño this summer (or any summer for that matter)!

Working hours

February 18th, 2016

Add a comment

CerradoThis morning I had three separate chores to do in the centre of Pontevedra – visiting three separate businesses. The problem was that I had no idea what time they opened, and so I made a quick search on Google. The result was not really what I wanted. One opened at 8am, the second at 9am, and the last one at 9.30am. Clearly I didn’t want to hang around in town waiting for the third business to open, so the only option was to wait at home until just before 9.30. This was really frustrating and I just felt like I was wasting my morning….

It occurred to me that the situation is actually much worse than this, if you examine Spanish business hours in general. Businesses can open at more or less any hour between 8am and 10/10.30am in the morning, and then close again for lunch at any time between 1.30pm and 2.30pm. And guess what? This very same scenario is repeated again in the evening! Shops and offices re-open between 3.30pm and 5.30pm, and then close again at any time up until about 10pm. I have to say that this system doesn’t strike me as being particularly efficient (or convenient). For example, unless you know the opening and closing times of every business that you want to contact or visit, then it can be quite complicated. (Without mentioning the fact that the very same businesses can, and do, vary their hours between winter and summer!)

Weekends are another story…. Many shops still close for the weekend at lunch time on Saturday, which would appear to be a bit of an archaic practice – especially in times of recession when you really need to maximise your income. Shops are closed on Sundays here in the provinces (but much less so in the big cities these days). Here in the ‘sticks’ shops are allowed to open for a limited (and controlled) number of Sundays throughout the year, normally around Christmas or ‘Sale’ periods.

At Castro Martin we only make one small adjustment to our timetable during the year, between winter and summer. In winter we start an hour later at 9am, but this is simply because of daylight hours. On winter mornings our guys cannot prune vines in the dark, hence the fact that we start a little later.

Masterclass EYou may have notice that there have been no posts on our sites for the last week or so, and that’s quite simply because we have been travelling. Now, the hotel where we stayed in London claimed to have free internet – and it did – provided that you didn’t mind waiting half an hour to download a simple document or e-mail…. Completely useless! That’s another story, but does explain why we have been silent.

Of all the travelling that we do and the visits that we make, by far the most productive use of our time is training. We were invited by our UK importer to hold a “Materclass” for their London sales team – an opportunity just too good to refuse. Visiting individual customers and holding small tastings is one thing, but having the opportunity to ‘educate’ a large group of sales people is something else. It’s what I call the ‘cascade effect’. By preaching our message to one small group, this can, potentially, be transmitted down to hundreds of customers at the business end of our supply chain. Of course, it goes without saying that the more knowledge that we pass on to the team, then hopefully, the more confident they will be in going out to push our wines. The long and short of it is that we love doing these presentations, and above all else, our goal is that we will be creating new ambassadors for Castro Martin and our brands.

I think our presentation was well received, but more importantly, our wines showed really well as we tasted our way through them. We can talk and educate until we are blue in the face, but our wines? Well, we let them speak for themselves….

Posted in Business, People, Travel

rain-cloudAfter the holidays of Christmas and then Reyes, we are finally back to work – schools have returned and people are back at their desks. Refreshed and ready for the challenges of 2016, assuming that you have managed to get out of bed! The reason I say that is because if you are one of those people who likes to lay in bed and listen to the rain on your window (tucked up warm under the duvet), then it’s possible that you might be starting to develop bed sores….. The weather in Galicia since the beginning of the year has been appalling, almost to the extent of being mildly depressing. It has been raining almost non-stop throughout the day and night. Skies have been dark, grey and leaden – on some days it has remained dark well into the morning, so much so that have been sitting at home with the lights on. For anyone that has taken an extended holiday over this period (which includes our bodega) it has been a complete washout. Even going out for the traditional Spanish ‘paseo’ (an evening walk before dinner), has been almost impossible, or at the very least, quite unpleasant.

It has also been quite mild, which unfortunately, is not great for our vineyards. All vines need an extended period of cold weather simply for them to recover from the exertions of producing fruit – in other words, winter! The rain also makes the already difficult job of pruning even more unpleasant – on sodden ground, with the rain in your face (as you reach up to work on the pergolas overhead)…..

Posted in Business, Weather