Jorge Ordóñez Selections – Fine Estates from Spain, Inc. is a family owned and operated exclusive national agent and importer of Spanish wines servicing the United States & Puerto Rico. Founded in 1987 by Jorge Ordóñez, our company was the first national specialty importer of Spanish wines that introduced the wines of Spain to the United States at a time when less than a dozen labels of large commercial brands were being commercialized in the US.
Since then, Jorge personal crusade has been to seek out and preserve Spain’s rich multi-millennial history of viticulture and winemaking. Today, Spain is Earth’s largest viticultural region, with more area under vine than any other country worldwide. It is also thought that vitis vinifera was first cultivated in Spain over 2,700 years ago by the Phoenicians, making this arguably the most ancient winegrowing country in Western Europe. Our family’s philosophy is that this ancient and diverse history is what makes Spain unique, and we fight to celebrate and advance this history by representing family-owned estates that share our family’s commitment to quality, old vineyards, and classic winemaking. We do not work with large co-operatives or corporate winemaking organizations that report to large numbers of shareholders – the companies we represent are multi-generation family businesses that are committed to farming and producing distinctive wines.
By working exclusively with artisan producers who employ non-interventional, authentic methods of farming and winemaking, we represent honest wines with a sense of history, culture, and place.
Every aspect of our business is focused on maintaining the integrity and provenance of these wines. We are the most radical importer in the United States about temperature control throughout the entire logistical process. We insist that the producers we represent warehouse product in temperature-controlled conditions and that all shipments to the consolidation port are shipped in reefer trucks. We were the first importer of Spanish wines in the US to insist that our freight forwarder refrigerate and consolidate our containers in refrigerated conditions, and as a result, the first refrigerated consolidation warehouse in Spain was established specifically for our portfolio. Wholesale markets north of Charleston ship reefer containers between March and November and all markets south of Charleston and all West Coast markets ship reefer containers year long. Electronic temperature trackers are planted in all our containers to ensure that the product is not damaged by excessive heat or cold during the logistical process and we work exclusively with wholesalers that also have temperature-controlled warehouses. This rigorous process stems from our democratic and egalitarian principles that all consumers deserve to drink a great bottle of Spanish wine regardless of price and style that is qualitatively as close to what was bottled at the estate as possible.
Historically, we collaborated heavily with some of our agency wineries to select, blend, and bottle cuvées for the United States market. These wines were rooted in the philosophy of traditional viticulture and quality winemaking, and while several of them originated as wines for the United States, many of them grew into internationally renowned and sold standard bearers of quality and authenticity for their respective appellations. As experts in label design, brand ideation, and blending, we created some of the strongest brands in the Spanish wine business and Jorge founded many new estate bodegas with his representative wineries which put formerly comatose regions such as Toro, Jumilla, Alicante, Rías Baixas, Campo de Borja, Calatayud, La Mancha, Zamora, Rueda on the map for the first time in the international market. Our evolution as a combined importer-negociant-producer has resulted in Jorge becoming an estate producer at Grupo Bodegas Ordóñez – a group of five estate wineries owned wholly by Jorge. As a result, we have abandoned our activities as a consultant-negociant and work exclusively as a fine wine agent and importer representing a portfolio of 27 estate wineries that share our same commitment to quality and traditional viticulture. Five of these are our family’s own estate wineries, and the 22 others are family-owned producers we represent as exclusive national agents in the United States & Puerto Rico.
After decades of hard work, Spain has become a considerable category in the United States market and Spaniards are beginning to recognize their place on the world wine stage and have begun to fight for the resuscitation of old vineyards and quality winemaking. While this movement is significant it is still in its infancy and we believe education, internationally, is the most important next step to continue advancing Spain as the world’s top fine wine region. While international exports and sales have grown considerably, education and understanding around Spanish wine is still basic, which has driven demand towards a homogenized collection of wines from easy-to-understand appellations and varieties, which shortchanges Spain’s most important quality – it’s diversity of indigenous grape varieties and terroir.
Jorge Ordóñez Selections is being led into the next generation by Monica & Victor Ordóñez – Jorge’s children who look forward to advancing the quality and position of Spain’s top wines in the North American marketplace.
Bodegas Ordóñez is a group of five estates wineries producing fine wines in six of Spain’s oldest Denominaciones de Origen. The first winery in the group, Jorge Ordóñez Málaga, was founded by Jorge Ordóñez in 2004. Today, Bodegas La Caña in Rías Baixas, Bodegas Vatan in Toro & Rueda, Bodegas Breca in Calatayud, and Bodegas Avancia in Valdeorras complete the companies in the group’s umbrella.
While Jorge’s (and the entire Ordóñez family’s) history in the wine business started as a wholesaler, importer, and merchant of wine, these five wineries are authentic estate wineries – not importer private labels. This is the Ordóñez family’s first foray into the production side of the business and the five wineries are owned entirely by Jorge himself. The appellations where Bodegas Ordóñez works are regions that have a centuries old history of winemaking where Jorge was an pioneer in resuscitating quality winemaking.
Jorge is one of Spain’s most important pioneers in the discovery of ancient vineyards and forgotten indigenous varieties across the Spanish countryside and was the first exporter and one of the first supporters of Rías Baixas and Albariño, Toro and Tinta de Toro, Godello and Valdeorras, the Garnachas from Aragón and Calatayud, high quality old-vine Verdejo, and the sweet and dry mountain wines from Málaga. In several of these regions, Jorge was partner and founder in several successful wineries, and his current estates in these regions represent the final evolution of Jorge’s history and work in these appellations.
All five companies work with estate owned and vineyards leased on long term contracts. The viticultural focus is on old vines, and all the vineyards that are farmed in Valdeorras, Toro, Rueda, Calatayud, and Málaga are bush trained vines planted before 1990 and back to 1885. In Rías Baixas, La Caña works with vineyards that are trained on the traditional parras or pergolas that are traditional to the appellation. While Bodegas Ordóñez does not hold organic certifications, the vineyards the company works with across Spain could be considered organic, as the company does not work with chemically synthesized fungicides, pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. Finally, all our estates dry farm without irrigation as a way of protecting limited water resources and allowing the old vines we farm to dig deep into their respective soils to source groundwater.
In the cellar, Bodegas Ordóñez attempts to produce expressive and clean wines that are respectful of the ancient vineyards from which they are source. Spontaneous fermentations are preferred while in some cases fermentations are inoculated with neutral yeast. Bodegas Ordóñez believes in the judicious or limited use of SO2 as an antioxidant and antimicrobial agent to protect the expression of the grapes from our vineyards – the company’s philosophy is that excessive oxidation, excessive reduction, and excessive microbial contamination are the result of negligent winemaking and ultimately are components that are introduced in the cellar and as a result, inherently interfere and obscure the expression of the site. Oak barrique, puncheons, and demi-muids are used in all our properties. We feel that oak barrels, large and small, and other micro-oxidative winemaking vessels are important tools from the point of view of protecting wines from excessive reduction and do not agree with oak being used as a flavorant during winemaking. We also understand that quality of oak is more important than the age (or number of vintages that a barrel has been used) and invest heavily in partnerships with the top cooperages of France to ensure that the barrels we use do not negatively obscure the expression of the vineyard.
The company takes special pride in being one of Spain’s important modern proponents of fine white winemaking. Where Spain has one of Europe’s richest viticultural histories and a multi-centenary history of commercial red winemaking, Spain’s historical culture of white winemaking is dominated by sweet wines, oxidative wines, or white wines produced and consumed on a local and family level – Spain simply does not have the commercial history of fine white winemaking that is enjoyed by the French, for example. As a result, Bodegas Ordóñez looks for inspiration from Burgundy and other fine white winemaking regions internationally to apply sur lie ageing, large format barrel and foudre fermentation, battonage, and other practices to the finest vineyards of Spain’s most important white grape varieties. This has resulted in Ordóñez becoming a standard bearer for varieties like Albariño, Godello, Verdejo, and Moscatel de Alejandría in their respective appellations.www.jorgeordonez.es
When Jorge Ordóñez arrived in the United States in 1987, the international Spanish wine market was bleak. Jorge grew up in Málaga and managed his family’s wholesale wine business before arriving in the United States. As a result, he understood the potential market for Spanish wine in the U.S. For his vision to succeed, however, drastic changes had to occur both in Spain and abroad.
In the U.S., a lifetime of misconception about the caliber of Spanish wine had to be dispelled. In a market saturated by French, Californian, and Italian wine, Spanish wine was thought to be low quality, funky, and cheap. Jorge understood that much of this was the result of external factors, most importantly, poor storage and transportation conditions. He revered the wines of his homeland and was one of the few to recognize the vast potential of Spain’s old, dry farmed vineyards of indigenous grapes. He also recognized Franco’s detrimental impact on agriculture and wine industry. It geared towards bulk production and the cooperative system, rather than producing fine wine. Due to these conditions, much of the country’s winemaking needed to be revitalized: cleanliness needed to be a priority, yields needed to be lowered, and some traditional methods needed to be updated. Most importantly, Ordóñez sought to preserve the ancient vineyards of his homeland and fought brazenly against the trend of ripping up indigenous varieties to replant with more productive international grape varieties. He crusaded to uphold the heritage and character of Spanish wine by highlighting the oldest clones of Spain’s authentic indigenous varieties and by celebrating his homeland’s unique terroir. There was a great deal of risk involved. Ordóñez boldly challenged the international palate by being the first to introduce and champion exotic varietals such as Albariño, Godello, Garnacha, Monastrell, Tinta de Toro, and wines from Txacoli.
Ordóñez established himself as a relentless advocate for the proper handling of wine. He demanded major improvements in the transportation of wine until it reached the U.S. Fine Estates From Spain was the first wine broker in the U.S. to have a refrigerated warehouse in Spain and the first to demand refrigerated shipping and storage at every point of travel to the final market. The decade long battle was won in the late 90’s, when Spanish wines were finally recognized for their quality.
As Americans were just learning of Ribera del Duero and Albariño, Ordóñez was beginning his first forays into production, searching out D.O.’s where potential was vast – regions covered with old vineyards of Spain’s indigenous varieties, but where winemaking remained primitive and dominated by cooperatives. In unheralded regions such as Toro, Málaga, Calatayud, Jumilla, Alicante, Montsant, and Valdeorras, Ordóñez partnered with the most talented winemakers to produce fine wines where none existed. These were wines that championed Spain’s oldest, forgotten vineyards. Jorge now owns Grupo Bodegas Ordóñez, a group of five estate wineries that produce wines from these unheralded regions.
Jorge boasts an impressive list of accolades; twice named one of the Top 20 Wine Personalities of the Year by Robert Parker, who also named him one of the most influential wine personalities of the past 20 years. In 1997, he was awarded the Golden Grape Award by Food & Wine Magazine and the Spanish Premio Nacional de Gastronomía. In 2008, Jorge was named Luminary of the Year at the Nantucket Wine Festival, the first time the award had been bestowed. Amongst these many awards, his proudest achievement has been creating a market for Spanish wine by celebrating its history and indigenous varietals, while making Spanish grape growers and winemakers believe that their wines deserve a place alongside the greatest wines of the world.
(click to explore the many regions where our wines are from)