About

My name is John Maher. The aim of this website is to provide guidance, information and random thoughts on the wines (and some other aspects) of the city and region of Valencia. It has its origins in my own difficulties in finding useful information about the excellent and endlessly varied wine that I found myself trying delightedly when I moved to the city in April 2006. There has been a remarkable surge in the quality of wine throughout Spain. Previously little-known areas like Priorat in Catalonia have produced superstars with prices to match. The region of Valencia (encompassing the three Denominaciones de Origen Alicante, Utiel-Requena and Valencia Рplus Vins de la Terra de Castellón and Vino de la Tierra El Terrerazo Рas well as producing Cava and independent Vinos de Mesa) had until recently concentrated on the bulk export of wine. The ongoing transformation in the quality of wines has been extraordinary, but received little attention locally, nationally or internationally. Only one in three bottles of wine opened in Valencia is from the region, with consumers still in thrall to Rioja and Ribera del Duero. This website and my corkscrew are on a mission to do something about this.

I was born in Argentina in 1962, though grew up mainly in Peru where my parents moved in 1968. I was educated in England, and on finishing university, where I studied history, I realised I hadn’t spoken Spanish for too long and moved to Barcelona, where I lived for a couple of years while doing post-graduate research. I then spent six years as a university lecturer in Spanish history and politics, before moving back to Spain (the Canary Islands) for a period in the mid-90s, then back again to the UK to a job at the University of London. In late 2005 the University announced a voluntary redundancy programme, at the same time as my wife was looking to set up in practice as an acupuncturist. We decided that rather than commute from London to Stevenage (even though this is home to the Wine Society), as she was contemplating, we’d move to Spain, and specifically Valencia, which we visited and fell in love with. My Russian wife had been learning Spanish in London, mainly as a way of shaming me into learning Russian. My Russian remains hopeless, though I am studying it at the Escuela Oficial de Idiomas in Valencia, while Olga is well and truly fluent in Spanish, and was even interviewed about acupuncture by Valencia’s Channel 9 not long after arriving. While moving back and forth from Spain to the UK one constant has been my enjoyment of and interest in wine. Having read up on Valencian wine, I wasn’t expecting anything much on that score, but the reality was very different, and I was bowled over by the wines from the region that I was buying at random. I needed to know more, but simply couldn’t find the relevant information, either in bookshops or on the web. This website is my attempt to make available the sort of thing that I was after. It is by a beginner in the subject of Valencian wine in order to urge visitors and residents to explore the wines of the region, and to help them to choose wisely. Please let me know of errors and omissions.

Salud,

John Maher