CVNE, the Compañía Vinícola del Norte del España (the Northern Spanish Wine Company), was founded in 1879 in the town of Haro in Rioja by two brothers. Today the estate is still controlled by the direct descendants of the founding family. Since its inception, CVNE has been focused on the production and aging of high quality, distinctive wines and includes three wineries: Vina Real, Contino and Imperial. All three wineries have distinct philosophies, styles and are run as separate entities.
Vina Real was created by CVNE in the 1920s to showcase the stunning fruit from the vineyards of the Rioja Alavesa, north of the River Ebro which runs through the centre of the region. Its blend of traditional and modern is best captured by the remarkable new winery, opened in 2004, which sits atop and deep within the hill of Cerro de la Mesa in Laguardia.
Created in 1973, Contino represents the first ‘chateau’ concept in Rioja where the grapes come entirely from a single estate, where the wine is also made, aged and bottled. The history of the property however, dates from the 16th century. The “contino” was the officer in charge of a garrison of a hundred soldiers who protected the royal family de contino” from the time of the Catholic Monarchs onwards.
Imperial is one of the true reference points in the history of Spanish winemaking, a true classic in Rioja first bottled in the 1920s. Its name was originally adopted after a special bottling for the English market known as the ‘Pinta Imperial’ or ‘Imperial Pint’ (just over half a litre). The grapes to make Imperial have always come from their own 28 hectares of vineyards in Villalba (Rioja Alta), and selected vineyards in the nearby communes of Briones and Montalvo, where the vine age is kept to a minimum of 20 years to maintain quality. This is the beating heart of Rioja and truly is a wine to stack up with the greats from France and Italy