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Ask a Winemaker: Segura Viudas’s Gloria Collell On Working For One of Spain’s Most Renowned Cava Houses

Segura Viudas x S/

Although Gloria Collell’s grew up in the wine industry and has memories of barrels, bodegas, and wine fairs, she never entertained any dreams of becoming a winemaker, let alone working in wine at Segura Viudas, one of the most prestigious and well-loved Cava houses in Spain.

Collell’s grandfather was a “botero,”—a craftsman who made leather pouches for storing wine—and her father played a big role in the move to bottles, which shaped the industry’s distribution and sales network. She always intended to work in the family business, but studied winemaking to achieve a deeper understanding of the process and the culture of the craft. Instead, she fell in love with Penedès, the northeastern coastal Mediterranean region in which 95 per cent of the country’s Cava is made, and decided to stay on to work at the winery.

It’s easy to see why she became enamoured by the region and the Segura Viudas winery, where a medieval Catalan watch tower presides over the heredad (estate), built for sentries to stand guard and keep this sprawling property safe. Twenty-five years later, Collell, still loves the estate and the challenge of the house’s never-ending pursuit of excellence. Segura’s mission is to make sure its legendary sparkling wines reflect the unique heritage and, at the same time, refine the craft so that the wines can be the best expression of the terroir and signature grapes—Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo, still used to make Segura Viudas bubbles.

In a way, Segura Viudas Heredad Reserva is a love letter to la heredad, the historic estate in the valley of Penedès. What sets this luxury expression apart from other Cavas?  

“So many things make this wine special. The grapes are treated with kid gloves—hand-harvested and lightly-pressed. The blend is made from nine wines and the predominant grape is Macabeo, which is the key to helping it withstand the long ageing process. It’s soft, complex and elegant—a special wine to discover.”

Was your father disappointed you didn’t carry on the family business?

“No, he encouraged me to work at Segura Viudas. I think he saw that it would give me many more opportunities to grow and learn things that I might not have been able to do in the family wine business.”

Where would you rather be? In the vineyards, the winery, or sharing your wine with the consumer at wine fairs?

“In a perfect world, I would be in the vineyards talking with consumers about wines. To me, the wine business is all about curiosity and discovery and sharing special wines with people—new friends and old.”

Outside of Spain, you don’t hear quite as much about Cava as you do about other bubbles, but it has its “superfans”—why do you think it has such a loyal following?

“Because it’s a smart buy. It has the perfect level of quality and complexity. It’s a super-versatile product that’s fresh and ripe at the same time. You can have Cava at any time and you never get tired of it because it’s not as sweet as other sparkling wines.”