I looked rather younger when I first met Felix Martinez. It seems the passage of time has been kinder to my old friend than it has to me!
I’m not sure how many years ago Felix invited me to his winery in DO Utiel-Requena to see the work he was doing bringing the business into the 21st Century, perhaps it was 16 years? Whilst my memory doesn’t serve me so well in this respect it certainly doesn’t let me down re his wines! I remember clearly how impressed I was, so much so that I organised a number of visits there taking clients of my old travel company, Tin Lizzie Tours. Plus, of course, I’ve been enjoying his wines ever since.
Felix and his siblings grew up in the family winery, Bodegas Vera de Estenas, living in the large impressive mansion/finca built in 1882. The vineyards planted just before completion of the house and bodega over 150 years ago have been extended over those years and the whole enterprise is surrounded by vines.
Wine was the family business and as such the children grew up in the world of wine. His siblings mapped out alternative careers but it was wine that resonated with Felix. It’s almost part of his DNA. He studied at the excellent Wine School in nearby Utiel-Requena, adding the necessary science to the wealth of history and tradition that he already knew inside out.
As is often the case with young winemakers here in Spain, Felix travelled to different winemaking countries, including a trip to Argentina (from which I’ve benefitted indirectly on a few occasions – more on this in Part Two!). With his studies, his travels, his family knowledge and above all, his passion, he set about the renaissance of the family bodega.
Twitter @colinonwine Instagram colinharkness53
Facebook Colin Harkness