Meet the Challenge winemakers: Jose Hernandez Gonzalez of Spain

“I have worked with 20 different grape varieties in six countries since I finished university and for me this has been a dream come true,” says Jose Hernandez Gonzalez of Spain, when asked about his biggest achievement. He also cites a gold medal won in the “Concours Général Agricole de Paris 2011” while he was working at Domaine René Ours in Cotes du Rhône in France.

“I’m always hungry for travel and to visit wine regions, to taste many different wines and to observe many wineries,” says Hernandez. “This has allowed me to work with the same varieties in different countries, observing their versatility in diverse conditions and discovering a wide range of possibilities in winemaking.”

With degrees in oenology from the University of Bordeaux in France and technical agricultural engineering from INEA-Universidad de Valladolid in Spain, Gonzalez has taken his education with him on those travels. Along with his experience at Domaine René Ours, he has been a winemaker at Naia Vineyard in Rueda in Spain, a wine-making assistant at Kleinood Estate in South Africa, and done everything from working in the cellar at Screaming Eagle in Napa Valley in the United States and Tinlins Winery in McLaren Vale in Australia to being an intern at Chateau Lynch-Bages in Bordeaux.

When asked what grape he would work with if he had to pick one, Hernandez cites Syrah. “She is very generous (as a grape), she is quite adaptable, and you can make very different kinds of wines, from easy drinking to more complex.”