Aula Vinícola – a Saturday morning pick-me-up

aulatastavins2013 marks the tenth “Tastavins” wine course offered by Joan C. Martín’s Aula Vinícola, of which I’ve written previously. As ever, nothing is done by halves. There are some 75 hours over approximately 20 Saturdays between February and December, plus field trips and special events, with over 100 wines being tasted and assessed in the context of the course. For further info email

This year sees a new initiative, the launch of an annual prize for “Dignity in Wine”, which has been awarded to José Vicente Guillem Ruiz for his 30 years of commitment to quality wine in the Comunitat Valenciana. It should be added that his work was carried out in the not always conducive environment of public administration, where murky interests have been known to intervene at the expense of altruistic devotion to the implementation and maintenance of standards.

aulatastavinspodaSo, Joan C. Martín continues with his tireless endeavours on behalf of the wines of the region. I hear of a project he is spearheading to recover the once famous (and occasionally infamous, dubbed “blackstrap”) thick, dark wines of Benicarló, exported massively as an alternative to port or to add body to claret. I am sure there will be plenty more to come about this.