• Features

High-Quality Wines from Vineyards with Their Horizon

  • delicious Japan
  • November 2023
  • Vol. 17

Ignacio Arzuaga Navarro
I heard that you also studied in America. Please briefly introduce yourself.

My name is Ignacio Arzuaga Navarro. I am the second generation of “Bodegas Arzuaga Navarro,” a family winery. My father established Bodegas Arzuaga Navarro in 1987. In 1993, we started to trade wine. That was when I began to work together with my father. I studied Champagne for the first eight years, especially in the market and at harvest time. The first year, we sold grapes through the wineries. That’s when I first contacted the professional wine world. Before that, I worked together with gastronomy. After I finished my study, I studied to be a manager because we have other kinds of business. In 1996, I started to work full-time at the winery.

What is the most prominent feature of the winery "Bodegas Arzuaga Navarro"?

We are focusing on gastronomy. It isn't easy to enjoy wine and food without understanding gastronomy. We provide wine to enjoy different moments with different food. Our wine is simple, and it is easy to drink. Also, we are more focused on organic wines. One third of our wines have organic certificates.

What is Navarro's greatest passion for winemaking?

Around the world, we can see many people drinking wine. It is amicable and unique. When I arrived in Japan, I saw two ladies drinking Spanish wine and they looked so happy. That is my passion because I love my village, the air we have there, and how the plant changes with the season through the year. It changes with the ideas we produce and it is evolutionary.

What are the general differences between Spanish wines and the wines that Mr. Navarro is working on?

The most apparent difference is soil. We are top 3. It is unique and natural. The microfilm makes the difference between other wines. In addition, our philosophy of making wine also makes a difference from other wines in Spain. Not only producing wine, but we are also focusing on gastronomy to enjoy wine with food.

This is your first visit to Japan in 15 years. How is Japan after 15 years?

My first visit to Japan was in 1998 and I also visited in 2006 and 2007. I wanted to visit Japan after 2007 but lost three years because of the pandemic. I love Japan’s culture, especially the food and people, so I am happy to come here.

How would you like Japanese people to drink and enjoy the wines produced by Mr. Navarro?

I am exporting wines to more than 60 countries around the world. When I visit Mexico, I can drink wine with Mexican food. In Japan, there are many kinds of food. We produce 13 types of wines, so it is easy to match with Japanese food such as sushi and sashimi. For example, we can start with red wines for fish with sauce. Our wines are soft and elegant, so they can easily match Japanese food.

Spanish food is the best Spanish wine, but what about the compatibility of Bodegas Arzuaga wine with Japanese food?

There are some commonalities between Spanish and Japanese food. The products are high quality. Having nice fish for Japanese food, such as sushi and sashimi, is essential. For Spanish, it is also the same. We use a lot of products from the sea.

Please tell us about your future aspirations.

Spanish wines will be more accepted in Japan, so our sales will increase. Many people told me that they wished to find quality wine. The wine from Spain goes well with Japanese food, so the future here is assuring, and we know that people from Japan like Spanish culture, which will help us. Japan is my first Asian market and one of the top 5 markets in the world. Moreover, Japanese food and Spanish food have similarities. I want to focus more on the Japanese market.

What kind of Spanish food goes with Japanese sake?

Seafood accompanies Japanese sake.

What is your plan for the future?

I want to visit Japan once a year for wine promotion events.