The steps taken
One of the features of this bodega is its continuous construction. From the very beginning, building has almost never ceased. Completing the building has always been a future project, even though the ideas were thought of a hundred years ago. Plans of how the founder imagined the bodega to be completed are available, and his descendants keep on building.
A clear example of this is that the bodega has a lot of carpenters, builders and stonemasons on their payroll; the latter are still using stones that were extracted during the building of underground passages and cellars by the founder.
In fact it can be said that the cultural project is immersed in the architectural project or development project of the bodega itself. Proof of this can be seen in the future library and archive (to house already classified articles in the future), which will be built out of stone. This stone building stands out next to the modern construction designed by Zaha Hadid and built from modern materials such as steel and glass.
Outside the bodega in the vineyards, fountains, huts and shacks have been reconstructed using traditional techniques and materials. And speaking of the interest in cultural themes, whilst preparing the lands for planting new vines around 1908, archaeologists inspected the entire Tondonia vineyard. As a result we have important archaeological remains and photographic material on glass plates.
Besides this important research, and in order to keep the project alive, we are restoring various objects.
Intentions of the project
The project intends to return objects to the place where they were initially used, and thus the bodega itself will become a museum providing a glimpse into the evolution of these objects. Our objective is not that of a “wine museum”; there is an excellent example just 8 km away in Briones, and there is also one in Haro (currently under renovation) where the bodega is located. The bodega itself will serve as a museum at the same time as the day-to-day bodega tasks are performed, and the articles on display in the chosen areas will complement the explanations given by the people directing tours.
We must not forget about the dozens of people who visit the bodega daily, and find the tour of the underground cellars and premises very interesting. This promotional exercise, properly executed and based on previous research, is one of the end goals of this project.
Therefore, the articles on display in the museum will provide a time reference to the tasks that are carried out today, showing the evolution of tools and equipment - and those tools that are still used today.
Apart from the objective of a museum display, we would like to share our information about family history. We firmly believe that Bodegas Lopez de Heredia is one of the oldest in the Denominación de Origen Rioja (Rioja appellation region) and one of the most renowned in Spain. Moreover, the fact that the bodega’s creation and evolution has been in the hands of the same family, makes it worthy of a special acknowledgement.
The goal of this project is to interpret the development of Rioja wine through the history of a family, and for this reason we shouldn’t only talk about the museum project and articles on display, since this is only one element of the whole project.
This idea draws from a scientific principle based on historical and anthropological methodology to enable it to be best appreciated by the public, but it also needs to be integrated into the bodega’s main marketing programme, as another branch. The project should support commercialisation, and correspond with a solid research into and respect for the history of the bodega.
Thus the “family history” idea should translate into a museum exhibition that narrates the life of the bodega-family through its contents rather than as a wine museum, and the double-threaded repercussions these have had on the region.
Linked to this is the idea of writing a book on the family history, and the repercussions their work has had on the wine world and on their surroundings; in addition to other related social and cultural aspects throughout the past 138 years.
We cannot yet pinpoint the exact time framework of this project, because the number of documents to be classified keeps increasing, and also due to other tasks such as cataloguing present day objects for practical reasons or for performing other tasks. In any case, our aim is not only to classify, but to perform a stock-taking and continue restoring and exhibiting objects. We also place importance on scientific congresses and meetings to collaborate and hence contribute to this project being better exposed.
The aim of all this publicising is to attempt to explain and inform what the Lopéz de Heredia family is undertaking, and should serve to encourage other companies within the wine world or other sectors to undertake similar projects to maintain and publicise their rich ethnographic heritage.