Raúl’s family owns Castro Ventosa in Valtuille, his birthplace in Bierzo where he has been making wine in his family’s estate since he was a teenager. Raúl decided to study viticulture and oenology, then started working in the family business, and his first vintage was 1994. In 2003, he left his family business and has embarked on his own projects in Bierzo (his native region), Monterrei and Rías Baixas. He produces wines with unique personality. Raúl allows his vines and wines to be alive and talk for themselves.
Raúl values very old vines in selected sites, favored viticulture which was respectful of the soils. Raúl identifies 3 distinctive sub regions in Bierzo. The wines he produces in these areas range from charming basic bottles to the precious single-vineyard selections. Although the leading Bierzo grape variety used for his wines is the red Mencía, he also creates stunning whites from native varieties such as Godello or Dona Blanca. “Bierzo is also a land with the potential to deliver top white wines,” he declares.
Raúl avoids using sulphites especially during the elevage process. He looks for the wine’s identity, allows the recently fermented wine to lose part of the fruit and to develop its own identity, avoiding such intervention. Besides, by allowing the development of the yeasty protective flor in the barrel, even for red wines, those wines can develop their complexity through ageing, without adding sulphites at all. Over the years Raúl expanded his talent and created joint projects around the world, most celebrated one in Portugal together with his friend Dirk Niepoort, and in Galicia with his best friend and partner Rodrigo Mendez.
Over recent years, Raúl received multiple praises from some of the most important wine critics in the world. In 2014, he was named Winemaker of the Year by Der Feinschmecker; than in 2015 the title Best Winemaker in the world by Bettane+Desseauve; and the heading to Decanter Magazine main article from the February 2019 issue was self-explanatory: “Is Raúl Pérez the world’s best winemaker?”.