José Ferrer, Honorary President of the Freixenet Group, received the Reino de España Award of Business Development presented by His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain in Madrid on Monday.
Selected as this year’s recipient due to his contribution to the economic and social development of Spain throughout several decades of work in the wine industry, José (above left) has created numerous jobs, globalized his activities, and contributed to the improvement of his surroundings and the well-being of his country, the company says.
He also has combined his professional interests with those of various social causes, culture and the arts, the company says.
Born in Sant Sadurni d’Anoia in 1925, José was raised among the vineyard vines where he inherited wine knowledge from his mother, Dolores Sala, and a business drive and talent for promoting wines from father, Pedro Ferrer, according to the company. The Ferrer family has been behind the Freixenet name since its beginning in 1914, and has shaped their family-owned company, the Freixenet Group, with the promise to produce and share quality wines with the world.
José joined the family business at the age of 22 and rose to the position of General Manager of Freixenet ten years later. In 1978, he was appointed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Freixenet Group, a position he held until 1999, when he left the top executive posts to his sons and nephew.
As Honorary President of the Freixenet Group for the past 16 years, José has remained involved in the company he was instrumental in building, often traveling on behalf of the Group and contributing valuable advice and counsel, the company says.
With José Ferrer’s influence and support, the Ferrer family has grown to hold full or majority ownership in 18 estates located in prominent wine regions in seven countries around the world and sells more than 160 sparkling and still wines worldwide.
Among his inspiring list of accomplishments is the creation of the Freixenet Cordon Negro line. Breaking ground in the realm of packaging, José developed the frosted black bottle for Freixenet’s signature Cordon Negro Cavawell before customized glass packaging or the use of opaque bottles was common in the beverage industry, the company says, and did so in the face of skepticism from industry colleagues.
Today, Freixenet encourages consumers to use the black bottle as their black board and “costumize” their Cava to showcase their own creativity with little more than a gold pen.
Additionally, José also expanded the family’s tradition of exceptional sparkling wine in the New World by building Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards. The Sonoma winery, with its blend of Catalan and Mission architectural style, opened in 1986. It was the first sparkling wine house built in what is now the Carneros appellation.
José wanted the best Chardonnay and Pinot Noir he could find for the Gloria Ferrer estate, but in the mid-80s, diverse Pinot Noir clonal selection in California was in its infancy and no formal evaluation had been done for sparkling wine production. With his support, the winemaking team spearheaded the first clonal research trials of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at Gloria Ferrer in partnership with UC Davis beginning in 1987. The studies changed the way wines were made in the region, the company says.
Pictured above: José Ferrer, left, receives the Reino de España Award of Business Development presented by His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain in Madrid on Monday. | Photo by EFE