Iconic winemaker Alejandro Fernández was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the jury panel, headed by Rafael Ansón, at the National Gastronomy Awards 2016. The awards, presented yearly since 1974, recognise the work and professional excellence of individuals and institutions dedicated in body and soul to promoting Spanish cuisine.
Alejandro Fernández, president and founder of Grupo Pesquera, which consists of bodegas Condado de Haza, Dehesa La Granja, El Vínculo, and Tinto Pesquera, as well as Hotel AF Pesquera, is the epitome of the self-made man and a driving force behind DO Ribera del Duero. His childhood dream became reality when he opened his first bodega in 1972 in a 16th century stone building, and now, 45 years later, he heads a business group which includes four bodegas: two in Ribera del Duero, one in La Mancha, and one in the province of Zamora. His latest project, a boutique hotel – Hotel AF Pesquera – focuses on gastronomy, wine, and wine tourism. Regarded as a “revolutionary” owing to his unique winemaking style, Alejandro is commitment to the promotion of the native Tempranillo grape variety, and makes concentrated, full-bodied wines which are a differentiating factor in Ribera. At 85 years of age, he still supervises every last detail of the process in his bodegas and can boast of heading one of the most well-known wine groups both in Spain and around the world. According to Alejandro, “this award is the culmination of a new dream which has been made reality today and which gives me strength to continue with the same enthusiasm and energy as the very first day.”