Ramon Roqueta Segalés is a winemaker, agricultural engineer and CEO of the Roqueta Origen Group. A fifth-generation member of “wine-growing entrepreneurs,” he shares how the business has grown since its creation in the 12th century.
I have the privilege of leading the Roqueta Origen group, a group of small wineries with distinct brands and identities. My story follows a saga of winemakers dating back to the 12th century at Masía Roqueta – formerly a family farmhouse – in Santa Maria d’Horta d’Avinyó in the province of Barcelona.
The company’s first direct-to-consumer model was launched at the end of the 19th century, when my great-great-grandfather, Ramon Roqueta Torrentó, opened his wine shop in Manresa (Barcelona). He was followed by Valentí Roqueta Prat and his son Ramon Roqueta Roqueta, who passed it on to his son and my father, Valentí Roqueta Guillamet.
Over the centuries, the company has gone from selling in bulk to bottling table wine to returning to the original family farmhouse.
My family has progressively expanded its operations in Cataluña, a region with an ancient winemaking tradition. The first generations went from selling in bulk to bottling table wine, to returning to the original farmhouse to cultivate and process recovered varieties of grapes in new state-of-the-art installations. It was here where my father’s flagship project, Bodegas Abadal, was born in 1983.
I belong to the fifth generation of wine-growing entrepreneurs. Since 2015, I manage a family group of several wineries, including Bodegas Ramon Roqueta (D.O. Catalunya), which stems from the first family winery, and Bodegas Abadal (D.O. Pla de Bages).
All the generations before me stand out for their staunch dedication to the art of winemaking and commitment to preserving this tradition, whose deep-seated family values are an intrinsic part of who I am:
- Deep respect for the family legacy and the willingness to appreciate and build on the achievements of those who came before us, the fruit of considerable effort and sacrifice.
- Entrepreneurial prudence, recognizing the need for success as a prerequisite for continuity but not growth at any cost, as well as ongoing risk assessment.
- Patience to let the vines slowly take their course and for the wine-making process, however many years it takes. Brand building requires the same time and patience.
- Innovation with enthusiasm and passion to expand our operations through projects that help us create high-quality wines without overlooking our rich winemaking past for inspiration. The recovery of native grape varieties is just one example.
- Loyalty to the land that defines us as people and shapes our wines and their unique characteristics. Good winemakers are experts at reading the land and extracting the best wine from the grapes, incorporating their distinct personality and stamp of identity.
After joining the family business in 2006, I followed my predecessors’ footsteps by getting involved in business and civic outreach organizations. I am an active member in several, including the Official Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Manresa, the Regulatory Council of the Pla de Bages Appellation of Origin, and the Catalan Association of Enologists, among others.
Entrepreneurship in the family business
Besides encouraging me to get involved in the business, my family also fostered my entrepreneurial spirit by helping me start a new winery. The result is my passion project – LaFou Celler – located in Terra Alta in the province of Tarragona.
I was drawn to the Terra Alta region for the authenticity of the territory, its people and its wines, and because it gave me the chance to develop a wine project with a native variety: the Garnacha (Grenache). I had been interested in Garnarcha since my days as an enology student when I had the chance to visit Châteauneuf-du-Pape in Southeastern France and learn how it could be cultivated to create very elegant wines.
My family encouraged my entrepreneurial spirit by helping me start a new winery: LaFou Celler.
My passion for outstanding wines is focused on two different territories: the Terra Alta region and Garnacha, and Bages, whose special soil and climatology produce some unique native varieties ─ mainly Picapoll and Mandó ─ to make wines with great personality. These regions are completely different, yet share a common trait – authenticity – a key value that underscores our entire winemaking operations.
LaFou has been another ambitious undertaking, entailing the recovery and reconstruction of Casa Figueras, an old estate in the village of Batea where the winery’s headquarters are based, as well as the cultivation of vines in Mas Gabrielet. This project allowed me to develop new capabilities and enhance my knowledge of the area and expertise in the Garnacha variety.
Perhaps thanks to this learning journey, I was named “Best Winemaker of the Year” in 2016 by the Catalan Association of Sommeliers, a distinction I owe to the tremendous support and advice received over the years, especially from my family.
Education, a driver of success
In addition to family values, a solid educational foundation is critical to excelling in the family business and successfully launching new and exciting projects. In my case, my agricultural and enology studies in France, and internships in California and Australia gave me invaluable insights into the world of wine.
My IESE MBA and exchange program at Columbia University in New York, coupled with my years of consulting in areas outside of viticulture, also broadened my perspective.
In addition to my formal education, my grandfather and especially my father were exceptional sources of knowledge who shared their experiences, perspectives and vision of the future.
My grandfather and especially my father also served as exceptional sources of knowledge, enabling me to learn from their experiences, outlooks and vision of the future. Together, they inspired me to consider corporate goals and objectives with a long-term vision to build on the family legacy and effectively compete in today’s complex markets.
Roqueta Origen today
Today Roqueta Origen boasts consolidated brands, especially LaFou and Abadal, both recipients of important international distinctions.
Inspired by our passion for the land, landscapes and wines, we sell our wines around the world. Exports represent a significant share of our business, mainly in Europe, but also in Asia and the Americas, where we hope to expand our presence.
Wine is a way of appreciating and communicating our environment, identity, roots and culture.
Wine is a way of appreciating and communicating our environment, identity, roots and culture. By promoting and distributing wine, we reinforce the singular and identifying aspects of our culture and take pride in some of civilization’s most essential values.
Homepage image by ©Javier Luengo