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Published:  23 July, 2008

Ricardo Guelbenzu of Bodegas Guelbenzu has announced that the winery is leaving the Navarra denominacin de origen (DO), because it has "no faith" in it. The company plans to use the Guelbenzu name universally for all its wines - whether they come from Cascante, Aragn, or Chile - and has formalised its voluntary removal from the Navarra DO to become producers of table wines (vinos de mesa). In a statement issued by UK distributors Moreno Wine Importers, Guelbenzu said: "We, in common with many others who choose to remain silent, have for some considerable time neither believed in nor had faith in Denominaciones de Origen, believing that the official constraints of the DO system (in general, and not purely as far as Navarra is concerned) ultimately add up to their inconveniences far outweighing their advantages in advancing the cause of (our) wine(s) in an ever larger global context. "More specifically, we are of the opinion that the DO system: continues to attempt the conveyance of messages too complex for today's consumer; in essence serves only to further fragment the supply market; imposes requirements that fail to guarantee a quality compatible with modern tastes and current trends - given that it seeks to embrace and unify quite distinct realities; persists in classifying inordinate numbers of wines as suitable for consumption' on the basis of parameters that are altogether too lax; is structured in such a way as to lend undue attention to large agrarian organisations to the detriment of the more circumspect and focused efforts of the independent sector; and rather than strengthening the image of the generic offerings under their umbrellas', their efforts invariably end up diluting the very image that is so important with specific regard to foreign markets, etc." The corporate strategy of Bodegas Guelbenzu is centred on achieving further growth by producing a new generation of wines from recently planted vineyards in La Lombana (Vierlas - Aragn), and at Via Peralillo in Chile's Colchagua Valley. The company believes this gives it a significantly wider framework within which to expand, and provides a varied choice of different properties, new grape varieties, new cultivation methods, and so forth. "We are convinced that quality does not revolve around rule books and the regulations of others, but is the result of exercising the will and determination to produce the best possible wine within a specific context," said Guelbenzu. He concluded:"We believe that our new situation and status will give us a greater liberty to improve our quality further still."