The story of Bodegas Juan Piñero is the story of one man’s epiphany. Back in 1992, Juan Piñero, a builder from Sanlúcar de Barrameda, bought an old bodega in the Barrio Bajo of Sanlúcar with the intention of turning it into flats. But Juan quickly fell under the spell of the wonderful old building and its 3,000m2 of winemaking tradition which dated back to the 1920s and, turning his back on spreadsheets and economic arguments, decided to bring the bodega back to life.
Once the work was completed the penny dropped and Juan realized he was the proud owner of a traditional Sanluqueña bodega with its wonderful high ceilings, Andaluz courtyard, its albero or chalky sand floor and its enormous windows which faced east and west (poniente and levante) - perfect for making the most of the sea breeze. In short, everything was ready for making delicious Manzanilla!
In 1993, he bought 1,800, 500-litre American oak butts or botas, a further 400 botas de solera (the lower butts that sit on the floor and from which wine is extracted in the traditional solera y criadera system) and musts from the Cuadrados vineyard. Expansion continued in 2000 when Juan took over a bodega from Pedro Domecq as well as the butts and the brand for the Maruja manzanilla.
In 2013, Juan began to work with Ramiro Ibáñez one of the most well-known and well-respect enologists in the area (who also has his own fascinating winemaking project Cota 45). With Ramiro’s help, Juan waved goodbye to his life as an almacenista - literally a warehouse keeper or wholesaler, who traditionally bought and aged young wines before selling them on to larger sherry houses for further ageing or blending – and began to make his own wines.