Ana Martín Onzain

Ana Martín Onzain

Castillo de Cuzcurrita (Lead Winemaker)

Ana Martín Onzain, who is among the the most influential and highly regarded winemakers in Spain, became a winemaker “by chance.” According to Ana, wine was not that important in Spain in the 1980s when she studied chemistry at the Universidad de Bilbao. After graduating, she needed work and successfully applied for a scholarship to study enology in Madrid. After completing her degree, “she had to work her way up,” and was thankful for her enology education, strong character, and excellent palate. Ana is also appreciative of the fine mentoring she received.

Ana returned to the Basque country in 1995, where she acquired fame for her Txakoli at Itsasmendi (Basque for “Sea and Mountain”) de Bizkaia, a pioneering project in the Basque Country. Txakoli de Bizkaia has received acclaim for its integration with nature, preservation of the terroir, quality winemaking, and fine white wines.

In 1999, Ana moved to the Rioja area. New proprietors had purchased Castillo de Cuzcurrita in the village of Cuzcurrita de Río Tirón and undertook an extensive renovation of what was a medieval castle. The facilities are simply amazing and include several works of art by well-known artists. Ana was hired as the lead winemaker in charge of all aspects of winemaking, and has crafted award-winning Tempanillo wines. Although Castillo de Cuzcurrita only produces Tempranillo wines, Ana remains well known in the Basque country for her white wines.

Ana, a person of great energy and creativity, also crafts wines in Cigales and in Bierzo, and for a new venture in Majorca called Can Axartell. For fun, she has a wine bar in Bilbao where she does wine tastings!