José Moro Vineyards: Tradition, Innovation and Social Responsibility

“A great wine is the harmony between space and time.”

New York, N.Y.  I was honored recently to dine at Vandal in New York with José Moro, president of Bodegas Emilio Moro and Cepa 21. I discovered a passion and determination in his speech that comes from years of experience and a strong purpose to make Emilio Moro an international wine brand.

4º_GENERACION_HD (21)For José Moro, family is life and tradition. He continues his vineyard on the basis
of tradition, innovation and social responsibility. Photo: Bodegas Emilio Moro.

After a firm handshake, he excitedly shared with me his presentation about his life’s vocation: his 200-hectare (the equivalent of Central Park) vineyard in Spain – and his commitment to both his village and humanity. I was delighted to finally meet him as he has been a generous patron of the J. Luce Foundation for years, providing bottles of his incredible wine for our galas and silent auctions.

José explained that in order to have a good wine it is necessary to maintain a good balance between alcohol, acidity and structure. In the same way, he said, he seeks greatness on three pillars: tradition, innovation and social responsibility.

Tradition.  José Moro represents history and a family oriented business that now includes a fourth generation.  The winemaking tradition started with their grandfather Emilio (b. 1891), continued with their father also named Emilio (b. 1932), then José with his three siblings. The fourth generation includes his nephew Alberto Medina Moro, now based in Miami and who also joined us for dinner.  In 1987, Emilio Moro was born when José Moro decided to use the name to create and commercialize the brand.  Although tradition is one of the pillars of Bodegas Emilio Moro, José incorporates innovation which adds more magic to their vineyards.

Innovation. Bodegas Emilio Moro spare no efforts to make their wines unique by collaborating with several colleges in Spain and adding a department of Research and Innovation to their vineyards.

Social Responsibility. Bodegas Emilio Moro supports international charity projects such as providing clean water to underprivileged areas of Mexico. Created in 2008, the Emilio Moro Foundation is an expression of the corporate social awareness of the winery. Under the motto: “Wine helps water,” it’s main target is to contribute to the water resources for the people with the most needs – including young people in risk of social exclusion. In 2015, the foundation expanded to guarantee a dignified and quality education for young people without resources in the Philippines and in Peru.

WhatsApp Image 2017-07-03 at 12.39.26 PM
José Moro gives a cyber tour of his vineyard to the author. Photo: Derek Balarezo.

José Moro and Bodegas Emilio Moro are recognized internationally. Their wines can be found in fine restaurants of New York including LeCirque, Fig and Olive, Capital Grille – just to name a few. His presence is recognized in North America, Europe, and Asia. It is of no surprise to learn of the international accolades José and his vineyards are awarded. Most recently, he received the ELLE Gourmet Award and his wines are consistently being rated 90+ points in WineEnthusiast.

José Moro has recognized his legacy and knew how to make something big out of it. He has committed his life to winemaking and promoting his wine, and the characteristics of his land and terroir both in Spain and internationally.

He explained to me with great enthusiasm how his family’s vineyard is in Spain’s northern plateau, at the confluence of four of the provinces of the Castilla and León Autonomous Community. It is worth noting that it is the vineyard with the highest altitude in Spain, from 750 to 1,000 meters above sea level.

Third Generation of the Moro FamilyJosé Moro with his three siblings stannding proud in their Spanish vineyard.
Photo: Bodegas Emilio Moro.

Although I have enjoyed wine tastings on The Queen Mary, I have never really chatted with a vineyard owner before. I was fascinated to learn that his vineyard is in an area called the Ribera de Duero — a grand valley intersected by the river Duero and divided into three separate areas: floodplain, high plateau, and slopes in between. The soils there, he explained, are mainly sandy clays, pebble and chalk, which give the following tones to the wines:

  • Chalk soils which give elegance and complexity
  • Clay soils give structure and character
  • Pebble soils give maturity and sweetness

WhatsApp Image 2017-07-03 at 12.38.56 PM(1)With José Moro, president of Bodegas Emilio Moro, at Vandal in New York.
Photo: Derek Balarezo.

I asked José how can people find his wines in fine restaurants around the world, including New York? He told me his wines are sold in most New York City liquor stores and suggested we could always get in touch with his nephew, Alberto Medina Moro, who would immediately make available places we can find and buy his wines – sorted by geographical area!

Summer VineyardThe 200-hectare vineyard of Bodegas Emilio Moro is the size of Central Park.
Photo: Bodegas Emilio Moro.

But perhaps what excited me the most was José telling me about the Emilio Moro Foundation, through which they focus on social responsibility and fund humanitarian projects in several countries as well as Spain, where they partnership with the Spanish Federation Food Bank. In line with social responsibility, they have an agreement with the Spanish National Organization for the Blind to include the name and vintage of the wines in braille on the front labels.

AutographJosé Moro autographing a bottle of his wine for the author. Photo: Derek Balarezo.

José also talked about climate change and the need to protect and preserve the environment.  He is adamantly in favor of an integrated viticulture that is not only environmentally friendly but avoids synthetic chemical products by using natural and organic ones in the fight against pests and diseases. This, of course, leads to organic wine which has seen tremendous growth in recent years.

José Moro stands tall for tradition, innovation and social responsibility. With his twin labels — Bodegas Emilio Moro and Cepa 21 — as well as the Emilio Moro Foundation, José is an etxraordianry thought leader and global citizen. His passion and determination for family, community, and humanty knows no bounds. His advocacy for the disenfranchised at home and abroad, his commitment to an international response to climate change, and his bedrock belief in his own family and the family of man is truly inspiring.

Bodegas Emilio Moro and Cepa 21

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About Jim Luce: Thought Leaders & Global Citizens

View all posts by Jim Luce: Thought Leaders & Global Citizens
Jim Luce: Thought Leaders & Global Citizens
Jim Luce (www.lucefoundation.org) writes and speaks on Thought Leaders and Global Citizens. Bringing 26 years management experience within both investment banking and the non-profit sector, Jim has worked for Daiwa Bank, Merrill Lynch, a spin-off of Lazard Freres, and two not-for profit organizations and a foundation he founded. As Founder & CEO of Orphans International Worldwide (www.oiww.org), he is working with a strong network of committed professionals to build interfaith, interracial, Internet-connected orphanages in Haiti and Indonesia, and creating a new, family-care model for orphans in Sri Lanka and Tanzania.

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