Bodegas Vicente Gandía celebrates the 50th anniversary of Castillo de Liria, the first brand of Valencian wines.
Since its beginnings in 1885, Bodegas Vicente Gandía’s activity was focused on the production and commercialization of bulk wines that was exported to different parts of the world. At that time, the method of aging and treating wine for transport differentiated them from other wineries. The barrels came from a small forest of Missouri. The drying of the wood, the toasting of the barrel and its conservation were especially curated and the wine was in perfect condition during its transport, with which they seduced their customers.
But everything changed in 1971 when Mr. José María Gandía Perales wanted to go a step beyond and had the brilliant idea of producing bottled and branded wine to offer greater added value to his customers. To do this, he had to convince his father, José María Gandía Ferri, who at that time was not very up to the task and said to his son “You’re crazy, José, you’re crazy.”
At that time, Vicente Gandía was located on Calle Maderas next to the Port of Valencia and also had a small production center in the city of Liria next to the vineyards that produced the grapes with which they made their wines. In that winery they bought grapes, made wine and took it to El Grao (Valencia Harbour) for export.
The name of the wine that was intended to be bottled was the work of Mr. José María Gandía Perales who decided to call it Castillo de Liria thinking of the famous French wines that almost always use the word “Château” which means castle in French, locating it in the city de Liria, which was the place of origin of these wines. Liria is located in the “Camp de Túria” area in the heart of the Valencia Protected Appellation of Origin, specifically in the sub-appellation called “Valentino” whose name comes from “Valentia Edetanorum” the Roman way of calling Valencia.
The original design of the label was also the work of D. José María Gandía Perales who thought of illustrating a castle with a vineyard at its feet, in the purest style of the great French wines.
Jose María says that The first harvest was about 500 boxes. Immediately I took some bottles and went to sell it to the purchasing manager of Superette (a little supermarket chain of Valencia) , a man, who for me was very old, because I was in my twenties and he was in the fifties. He told me: “Look son, you better work selling refrigerators or washing machines, because selling wine is not for you. He didn’t understand that Valencian wine could be bottled and sold. I went out crawling from that meeting with my morale down.”
After some months, Don José María was surprised that through an intermediary they had managed to sell Castillo de Liria in this chain and there he began little by little to gain strength in the market. In the end the story had a happy ending and 50 years later Castillo de Liria is the best selling wine brand from the Valencia Protected Appellation of Origin and with its international presence in more than 60 countries, is probably one most recognized Spanish wine brand around the world.
Castillo de Liria, was a landmark at that time. It was the brand that revolutionized Valencian wine, a game changer in the wine industry. Thanks to this, it was promoted and it was possible to give value to Valencian wines in general, proof of this is that day by day this Appellation of Origin is better positioned and enjoys better international prestige.
Long life to Castillo de Liria!