We had the opportunity to talk to Alex Ruiz Masachs, oenologist and manager of Josep Masachs. So let’s find out more about our winery through this Q&A!
How did Josep Masachs start in the Cava business?
We started more than 100 years ago, 2020 was the year of our centenary. Our great-grandfather, Josep Masachs Llorach, owned vineyards in Vilafranca del Penedès as early as 1920. In 1985, my uncles (Joan and Josep Masachs) bought La Montsarra estate, 40 hectares located in Torrelles de Foix, where our winery is still located. Nowadays, the fourth generation of the family has arrived with an open and innovative mindset. We want to elaborate wines and cavas with a unique character, full of nuances and easily enjoyable.
How did you get into the wine industry?
Personally, to be quite honest, I’ve always worked in the winery in one way or another. As a kid, I used to come here just to watch my granfather working in the vineyards. When I was growing up, I used to help my uncles during the harvest. But it was not until I finished college and when I had already lived some time abroad that I got serious about the industry. I realized that this was what I really wanted to do so I specialized in oenology while I was working as a commercial, delivery man… So I could learn about the whole process too.
I had several jobs unrelated to wine before focusing on my work in the winery, some of them allowed me to travel and live abroad for some time, which helped me to open my mind understand other cultures.
For me wine fits into a combination of utility and soul-enhancement. When I’m working I like to think about how people will enjoy our wines later at home with their family or in a restaurant with friends. The thoughts of consumers sharing very special moments with something we are creating is particularly fascinating and makes me want to improve every day.
What is the hardest part of running the winery?
With commercial presence in continuous growth, we continue to be essentially a family-run winery where the functions are mixed and each individual participates in different tasks according to their profile. Over the years we have also learnt how to surround ourselves with a solid team of professionals that enrich and complement us, both technically and commercially.
We believe that the constancy is the value that has allowed us to make a difference throughout these 100 years of intense journey. Our passion has enabled us to be more detail-oriented every day. We seek the quality of our products, made with native varieties that allow us to express the uniqueness of each area. Currently, this search has led us to search for projects beyond Penedes, and elaborate wines and cavas with a unique character, full of nuances and easily enjoyable.
Taking all this into account, we can say that the hardest part for us is to find always a balance between tradition and modernity. We want to respect the legacy of our predecessors, while respecting the land as much as possible and at the same time we want to create different things that can appeal to future customers.
And what is the most rewarding part?
The hardest part is at the same time the most rewarding one: a new generation learning to live together in peace and respect with older generations. With the aim of creating a balance that reminds us from where we come from but takes us to where we want to be tomorrow.
What is your next biggest project?
To celebrate our centenary as a winery we have recovered the name of the man who made this project possible back in the 20s. We have also changed our corporate image and the whole idea behind all this is to try to show everyone what we are capable of doing. Of course, without losing sight of what we are already good at, but trying to create more ambitious and unique projects
What is the philosophy at the vineyard?
Our philosophy is to let the vines do they work and just help them when it’s really necessary. We avoid the use of chemicals we avoid the use of chemicals that can damage the environment and jeopardize the future of the land. Besides this, we enjoy creating collaborative projects with our grapegrowers. We work hand in hand with local winegrowers, with whom we have long lasting family links and alliances. We inspect and select plots in every area to find the expression we look for each line of products.
How do you know when you have a particularly good vintage?
We are fortunate because in our area all the vintages are good to be honest.
If we are talking about a terrific vintage, or more specifically, an amazing plot or spectacular vineyard: we spent the last years working in very special and limited-production projects that we will release in the following years.
Tell us about your main products and projects.
I invite you to see our websites where you will find all the info about all our portfolio.
www.josepmasachs.com: This is our main website and where you can learn more about us and all our higher-end cavas.
www.vinsdelterme.com: In this site you can check our more competitive brands both in price and volumes. Vins Del Terme is the division where we are commercializing our more competitive and young wines.
What is your favorite varietal to work with and why?
This is a complicated question.
We believe in the great balance that can be created using the tradicional native grapes of the area: Xarel·lo, Macabeo and Parellada.
Lately, we have been working more with some old bush vines of Parellada located at 396 meters above sea level. This elevation offers larger diurnal temperature range which aids maturation, helps to retain acidity and increased amounts of polyphenol in the grapes.
Regarding the red varieties, we are working mostly with Trepat (another native and very unique variety), Garnacha and Monastrell.
What’s the most interesting thing to you in the wine industry today?
Everything is evolving right now. We can see very new and modern styles of wines and at the same time there is also a very strong ‘back to the roots’ trend in which a lot of winemakers are learning from the past and recovering very traditional and historical winemaking practices such as Ancestral Method sparkling wines.