The first seed that Terras Gauda experimented with, was not the original seed but a graft of several clones of albariño. 115 in total, collected in the province of Pontevedra and different places in the north of Portugal. This happened in 1989 near the headquarters of the company at O Rosal, and it was the beginning of a fruitful partnership between science and this Galician wine cellar, which turned out to be the first private company to be awarded in 2009 by The Royal Academy of Sciences in Galicia for their wine quality research.
25 years later, Terras Gauda and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) Scientific Research Council, via 2 entities: the Misión Biológica in Galicia (MSB), based in Pontevedra, and the Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias de la Alimentación (Cial) The Food Agency in Madrid. As powerful allies, the wine cellar and these research groups, nowadays a food corporation in Spain, have pioneered techniques, which have been applied to the field of Oenology in Galicia and Spain. This is being very useful to preserve the native species of wine and delve deeper into different complex aspects of winemaking.
The company had been in business for a decade when they decided to collaborate with the Misión Biológica. It was in 2001 in fact to develop a cloning selection project with the different species of albariño, funded by the Xunta government plan of I+D.
The Royal Academy of Sciences in Galicia conferred a life achievement award to the cellar and the wine itself in 2009
Several wine clones were tested by wine tasters to analyze consumers Oenological response and feedback to these new wines. “The experiment was very exciting and allowed us to find out that out of the 115 clones we had only 5 got to produce most aromas, and they were more productive because they ripened faster… in fact, these are the ones we initially used to refurbished so to say or revamped the plantations”, says Emilio Rodríguez, Tech Managing Director.
That research was pioneering. The Misión Biológica in Galicia and Terras Gauda pushed further the current research about albariño cloning selection and other varieties of vine. They went for the clones tagged as ´Denominación de Origen Rías Baixas´. This was a step forward in the conversion to albariño –that until the 90s was only a homemade wine and not for sale– this was a key factor not only for the albariño and wine industry to take off commercially worldwide but also for the Food industry in Galicia.
The other breakthrough in our winemaking research in Galicia was aimed at what we called “levaduras” wine yeasts. “The outcome of this research was shocking for us for it revealed major differences amongst wine yeasts. It was like dropping a bombshell”, says Rodríguez. “One of them yeasts had a very distinguishable aroma to fruit trees, some more identifiable than others with the albariño per se.´ The company patented it, an event with no precedents in the wine sector in Spain. The second patent of Terras Gauda derived from a nano-protein project, though we are opening new lines of research with the grape white caíño, which we are starting off to do some research similar to that one we d done previously with other Albariño of which it has been patented too.